Office of the Legal Counsel
The Office of the Legal Counsel (LEG) is responsible for providing unified and central legal services, advice and counsel to the Secretariat as a whole and the Organization’s Governing Bodies. In particular it carries out legal work relative to the fulfillment of the mandates of its Constitution and the Strategic Plans and Objectives adopted by the Member States. LEG also provides legal advice to the technical and administrative units, as well as field offices and Centers on all legal and constitutional aspects of their activities, including, but not limited to the negotiation and drafting of treaties, agreements and contracts, host country relations, privileges and immunities, administrative matters, application and interpretation of the Organization’s rules and regulations, relations with other international organizations, non-governmental organizations and private sector, and the handling of complaints lodged by staff members before the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization in Geneva and the defense of the Organization in other national or international judicial and quasi-judicial fora. In providing these services LEG ensures that the decisions that are made and carried out are in legal conformity, thus, protecting the legal interest of the Organization.
In PAHO’s organizational structure, LEG is under the Office of the Director of PAHO and the Legal Counsel reports directly to the Director. The Office of the Legal Counsel is part of PAHO's management structure and, as such, does not act independently but is accountable to senior management within the Organization.
The Office of the Legal Counsel plays a proactive role in facilitating the achievement of the Organization’s mission by safeguarding its privileges and immunities and status as an international public health organization. It works closely with PAHO’s Governing Bodies to promote good governance, ensure respect for constitutional, legal and administrative issues, thus protecting the name and integrity of the Organization.
The Office of the Legal Counsel also works closely with other members of PAHO's Integrity and Conflict Management System to foster ethical behavior and compliance with the Organizations rules and regulation, and to ensure effective conflict management, the right to due process and consistency in decision-making within the Organization.
The Office of the Legal Counsel has complete access to all records and files of the Organization. It has a duty to protect the confidentiality of information that is brought to its attention and can only share this information with people within the Organization who have a legitimate need to know. In resolving problems, LEG observes the requirements of due process and strives to ensure that the best interests of the Organization and/or its staff are protected.
The Office of the Legal Counsel is accessible to all PAHO personnel both at Headquarters and in the Country Offices and Centers, regardless of the type or duration of their appointment or contract. In addition, people from outside the Organization, such as Government officials, contractors, vendors and suppliers, lawyers and others can contact LEG to discuss or report issues that may have legal implications.