Principal Legal Officer (P-5)

About Us


The Office of the Legal Adviser provides legal advice and support to the Director-General, the Divisions and Branches of the Secretariat, and States Parties on a wide range of legal issues. In doing so, the Office ensures that the Organisation’s activities are conducted in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and relevant rules, policies and agreements.


The primary responsibility of the Office is to assist in the interpretation and implementation of the CWC, the decisions and rules of procedure of the policy-making organs, the internal legislation of the Organisation, and various sources of public international law.


The Office advises on commercial matters, the development of new internal administrative policies and procedures, and personnel-related administrative issues. Its legal services include assistance in drafting, reviewing, and negotiating international agreements and interpretation of the Headquarters Agreement between the OPCW and the Host Country.


General Information

  • Contract Type
    Fixed-term Professional
  • Grade
  • Total Salary (including post adjustment)
    USD 132,419
  • Closing Date


Job Summary

Are you highly proficient in, and have profound knowledge of International Law?

Join our Office of Legal Adviser at OPCW in leading role!

We are looking for a dedicated and a hardworking professional with knowledge and practical application of International Law, including the Law of Treaties, the Law of International Organisations and International Administrative Law.

The Principal Legal Officer has to facilitate the functioning of the OPCW in accordance with the legal regime of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the internal regulations of the OPCW, in providing legal advice and related assistance.

In this position you will prepare and supervise the preparation of legal opinions on the interpretation and implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention for the policy-making organs of the OPCW. In addition, you will provide advice to States Parties.

Main Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the Legal Adviser, as the Principal Legal Officer you will be responsible to prepare and to supervise the preparation of legal opinions for other organisational units of the Technical Secretariat. You will participate in the preparation and negotiation of international agreements including Facility Agreements, Privileges and Immunities Agreements. In addition, you will assist the Legal Adviser in general management and administration of the Office. What is more, you will represent the Office of the Legal Adviser on internal advisory bodies.

To view the complete job outline please click here.

Qualifications and Experience


Essential:  Advanced university degree in Law, in addition to a first degree in Law.

Knowledge and Experience


At least 10 years of progressively responsible experience in international organisations and/or government service, in the areas of International Law, Disarmament or Administrative Law;

Knowledge of the legal aspects of the United Nations common system, including the case law of international administrative tribunals; 

Experience in the UN common system or in the OPCW would be an asset.

Skills and Competencies

You have profound knowledge of international law and extensive experience in the practical application of International Law, including the Law of Treaties, the Law of International Organizations and International Administrative Law. You will be able to use your skills in legal writing, and your ability to independently prepare legal briefs, opinions, and related documents. You know how to place team agenda before your personal agenda. You are able to be a leader that other people want to follow. What is more, good interpersonal skills, critical thinking skills, tact and discretion, ability to establish and to maintain collaborative and effective working relations with people in a multi-cultural environment are a prerequisite to be successful in this role.


Fluency in English is essential and a good working knowledge of one of the other official languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish) is desirable.

Additional Information

This fixed-term appointment is for the duration of two years with a six-month probationary period, and is subject to the OPCW Staff Regulations and Interim Staff Rules.

The OPCW is a non-career organisation with limited staff tenure. The total length of service for Professional staff shall not exceed 7 years.

The Director-General retains the discretion to not make any appointment to this vacancy, to make an appointment at a lower grade, or to make an appointment with a modified job description. Several vacancies may be filled.

Only applications submitted before the closing date and through OPCW CandidateSpace will be considered. Only applicants under serious consideration for a post will be contacted.

Applications from qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged.

OPCW General Terms and Conditions


Important notice for applicants who are currently insured under the Dutch Social Security system

Although headquartered in the Netherlands, the OPCW is not a regular Dutch employer but a public international organisation with its own special status. Please be advised that if you are currently insured under the Dutch Social Security system, you will be excluded from this system as a staff member of the OPCW. You will consequently be insured under the organisation’s system. The above also applies to your dependents unless they are employed by a regular Dutch employer, they are self-employed in the Netherlands, or are receiving Dutch social security payments.

Please refer to the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment for more information about the possible consequences for you and your dependents, such as exclusion from ‘AWBZ’ and ‘Zorgverzekeringswet’ coverage: ‘Werken bij een internationale organisatie’.