Office of the Legal Adviser (LAO)

As counsel to and advocate for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Office of the Legal Adviser (LAO) provides a high level of legal assurance for the Organisation in an atmosphere of effectively managed uncertainty. The Office responds to demands for legal services from the Director-General (DG), the Divisions and Branches of the Secretariat, and States Parties and furnishes legal advice for the full, effective, and non-discriminatory implementation of the provisions of the Convention.

Core functions of LAO:

The LAO reports directly to the Office of the DG. The main responsibilities of the Office are:

  • Implementation and interpretation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) - To provide legal advice to the DG, units within the Technical Secretariat (TS) and the Policy-Making Organs (PMO) on matters related to the interpretation of the CWC, the Rules of Procedure of the PMO and relevant decisions adopted by the Conference of the States Parties and/or the Executive Council (EC);
  • OPCW internal legislation - To provide legal advice to the DG and units within the TS regarding the interpretation of the OPCW Staff Regulations and Interim Staff Rules, the OPCW Financial Regulations and Rules, and Administrative Directives adopted thereunder;
  • Personnel cases - To prepare the Organisation’s Responses and Replies in respect of appeals brought by staff members in cases before the Appeals Council or the International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT);
  • International Agreements - To provide legal advice to the DG and units within the TS in the negotiation, preparation, conclusion and interpretation of international agreements relating to verification activities (facility agreements), and also of relationship agreements with other international organisations, privileges and immunities agreements with States Parties, the Headquarters Agreement and any other enabling legal instruments;
  • Procurement of goods and services - To provide advice within the TS with regard to OPCW’s commercial matters, including procurement of goods and services.
  • To support the DG and units within the TS on other matters, as required.

Internship assignments:

  • Prepare first drafts of memoranda and other communications, as requested, on a variety of legal issues arising from the CWC implementation; 
  • Research rules of public international law on matters related to the interpretation of the CWC; 
  • Prepare background notes on legal issues relating to individual States to guide senior officials of the OPCW in their bilateral discussions with the States; 
  • Provide support in preparation for meetings of States Parties and prepare records of such meetings; 
  • Research on administrative law matters, including the jurisprudence of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILOAT), related to the implementation and interpretation of the OPCW Staff Regulations and Interim Staff Rules, the OPCW Financial Regulations and Rules, and other internal legislation.

Internship requirements:


Applicant must at the time of the internship, have completed at least one (1) year of or have graduated from a degree programme in Law (either undergraduate or graduate, depending on the home country).


  • Possess excellent research and analytical skills.

Language proficiency

  • Fluency in English is essential.
  • A good working knowledge of one or more of the OPCW official languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish) is desirable.

Internship period:


The internship is offered on a full time basis, for a minimum of three (3) months and normally up to a maximum of six (6) months (the latter is preferred).

Working hours

The internship working hours shall not exceed forty (40) hours per week.