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.

DevLaw newsletter

DevLaw Newsletter


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.

This study assesses the jurisdictional, procedural and remedial aspects of the grievance mechanisms that are used in land disputes in Sierra Leone. It helps to better understand the types and effectiveness of non-judicial grievance mechanisms in the country. It further proposes some options for the rationalization and coordination of the mechanisms that are now at work.

This guide explores the legal dimensions of responsible governance of tenure. It supports the application of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure for Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security at the national level. The guide addresses the legal value of the Guidelines covering the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests by explaining the concept of legitimacy and reviewing the different stages of legislative processes, from legal assessment and law-making through implementation of legislation to settlement of disputes.