Professionalism, Ethics and Conduct
The Staff Legal Aid Office was established to be an office for professional lawyers. What this means are lawyers who are appropriately trained and qualified to practice in their national jurisdictions and who adhere to a well-established code of ethics. All legal personnel of the office are qualified legal professionals, who adhere to the codes of ethical conduct of the Bar in the jurisdiction in which they are qualified. In addition, the Office has its own Code of Conduct (see its full text below), and since January 2017, the Office’s lawyers have also been bound by the Code of Conduct for Legal Representatives and Litigants in their personal capacity, which applies to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal. . Here are some key aspects of these blogs:
-Confidentiality of information related to the client
-The duty to serve the client’s best interests
-Duty to justice and the court
Guidelines of Conduct for Lawyers Affiliated with the United Nations Office of Legal Aid for Personnel
1- The primary duty of lawyers is towards their clients who are former employees or employees and the dependents of the affected employees, within the framework of the United Nations Charter, current laws, principles of justice and professional ethics.
2- Lawyers must have proven their competence in dealing with the subject they are concerned with, and they should be in a position to allocate the time required to provide full legal advice, assistance and legal representation.
Duty to the principal:
3- In all matters related to the client’s interest, the lawyer must observe the high level of care necessary for any trust relationship. As its representative, the lawyer’s words or actions may influence the client’s position.
4 – The lawyer must provide advice to the client employee objectively and fully observance of his duty as a representative of the client and an employee in the court. And he must strive in that to gain the maximum possible knowledge of the facts, and consider them from all sides, as well as the laws, regulations, jurisprudence and other legal provisions related to them. Where appropriate, counsel should advise the designating employee if his case is unlikely to succeed on the basis of legal merits, making it not advisable to seek a formal legal remedy.
5- The lawyer shall advise any client about any delays or doubts in the legal procedure or compensation procedure and the desirability of researching, at all stages, in every reasonable possibility to negotiate an appropriate settlement that respects the rights and interests of the employee. He shall offer to assist in these negotiations or conduct them within the scope of the client’s consent.
6- In disciplinary matters, the lawyer’s personal opinion regarding guilt or innocence has no significance. After the lawyer takes on the responsibility of advising and representing the accused person, he seeks to present the most appropriate defense possible.
7 – The lawyer seeks, in accordance with these principles, to serve the client’s case by exerting the utmost of his knowledge and ability.
8- As for the performance of his duties, the lawyer may not seek or accept any remuneration or material benefit (except for the salary he receives from the United Nations, in the case of legal office employees), or any professional advantage. In addition, the lawyer may not refrain from providing advice or following any path he deems appropriate for the work, for fear of any negative consequences for himself. A lawyer may not seek or accept directions from any party whatsoever during the performance of his duties towards his client, with the exception of directives arising from the relationship between the lawyer and his client.
9 – It is not permissible for a lawyer to advise or act in a matter involving any conflict of interest, whether personal or arising from the nature of his duties in the name of the organization or otherwise. Moreover, the counselor must avoid advising or acting on any matter in which such a conflict might reasonably be considered to be in existence. In the event that such a question arises, the lawyer must advise his or her future client on all relevant facts.
10 – All current and former employees have the right to a lawyer. However, a lawyer may refuse to advise or act on any matter, but he does not discriminate under any circumstances for improper reasons.
11 – The lawyer may withdraw only with a valid reason from any matter he has agreed to dispose of. “Good cause” includes, but is not limited to, any situation in which the principal seeks to insist on a course of action that is inconsistent with the lawyer’s duties under the United Nations Staff Regulations and Rules, the law and professional ethics, and his duties towards the courts as a judicial official. The client’s continued failure to cooperate with the lawyer or follow his advice, or a serious breach of confidentiality or trust between the lawyer and the client may lead to the lawyer’s withdrawal from the case. The lawyer may also withdraw in the event that the client hires an outside lawyer or retains him to assume his legal representation, unless an arrangement is agreed upon to involve another lawyer in the case.
12 – The lawyer must maintain the trust of the client even after the end of the relationship between the lawyer and his client.
Duty to law and organization
13 – The lawyer may not, when submitting the client’s case, and in any aspect of his duties, intentionally provide false information. The lawyer may not intentionally misrepresent the content of any relevant law, rule or regulation.
14 – The lawyer must observe all relevant time limits or, where it is impossible to observe them, for reasons beyond his control, endeavor to extend them in a timely manner.
15 – The lawyer must keep the procedures confidential.
16 – The lawyer has to treat other employees who are related to a matter in which he acts accordingly