The Legal Office

The Legal Office provides advice and support on internal and external legal matters related to the Organization.

Its wide range of legal expertise is an asset to the FAO. Member countries can request advice on reviewing their legislation to ensure it is aligned with international standards; Governing Bodies can seek guidance on procedures and mandates; and internal units can receive support on administrative and operational issues.

The Office ensures that the Organization’s activities are carried out according to its Basic Texts and are consistent with its status as an inter-governmental organization within the UN system.



Under the direction of the Legal Counsel at headquarters, two services in the Legal Office provide legal support. These are the Development Law Service, which also has out posted officers, and the General Legal Affairs Service.

Office of the Legal Counsel

ensures FAO activities are carried out in accordance with its Constitution and the FAO Basic Texts as well as the Organization’s internal rules. The Legal Counsel advises the Director-General on legal matters and FAO’s governing and statutory bodies. It also ensures FAO activities are conducted in a manner consistent with its status as a UN system organization. The Legal Counsel manages and has overall responsibility for the work of the Legal Office.

Contact: Donata Rugarabamu, Legal Counsel

General Legal Affairs Service

advises technical units, as well as Governing and Statutory Bodies, on legal and constitutional matters. It provides legal guidance on FAO’s relations with Members and other organizations, including on agreements covering a wide range of issues such as the privileges and immunities of the Organization, funding and project implementation. It assists the Director-General in discharging depositary functions related to international treaties, provides legal support on administrative matters, and represents FAO in legal proceedings.

Contact:  LEG - Director / LEG - personnel

Development Law Service

supports the legal components of FAO projects to ensure that they are aligned with the Organization’s overall strategic objectives. To this end, the service offers technical guidance on developing sound legal frameworks, well-designed laws and effective institutions. It also provides legislative support to member countries and regional bodies; supports the development of robust international legal tools; promotes in-country capacity building; and ensures legal information and knowledge is widely available.

Contact: Mr Blaise Kuemlangan, Chief, Development Law Service.