Legal Office

The FAO Legal Office provides in-house counsel in accordance with the Basic Texts of the Organization, gives legal advisory services to FAO members, assists in the formulation of treaties on food and agriculture, for which the Director-General acts as Depositary, publishes legal studies and maintains a database (FAOLEX) of national legislation and international agreements concerning food and agriculture (including fisheries, forestry and water).

Our goal is to develop legislation that is in line with international legal instruments and that contributes to the reduction of hunger, elimination of poverty and the sustainable management and use of natural resources.

We are lawyers, administrative staff, associate professional officers, consultants and volunteers working in FAO headquarters in Rome and in the field.

Our expertise comes from a wide geographical coverage: Albania, Argentina, Austria, Bosnia, Cameroon, Canada, Croatia, Ecuador, Eritrea, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jordan, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Spain and Turkey. The Development Law Service works in many languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and more...

Visit our publications page for a full list of legislative studies in print. Hard copies can be obtained by contacting FAO publications.


This Legislative Study provides guidance to the domestic regulators on appraising and potentially reforming domestic regulatory frameworks for responsible contract farming. Regulatory frameworks can support an enabling environment for responsible contract farming by addressing such issues as power imbalance between parties, by increasing legal security and certainty through dispute resolution methods and by promoting transparency.

More and better investment in agriculture and food systems is essential to achieve local, national and global food security. The Committee on World Food Security Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI) are a soft-law instrument to support small and large scale public and private investments that enhance livelihoods, promote human rights and mitigate risks to food security and nutrition. This guide is aimed at policy makers and regulators to support them in assessing their national legal frameworks for responsible larger scale private investment against the CFS-RAI.

This study analyzes international labour, human rights and other instruments that apply to the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors. It further highlights the challenges of labour protection in these sectors and suggests ways of overcoming such constraints.