The organisation and functions of the Office of the Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Database of the CAHDI "The organisation and functions of the Office of the Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs" - contribution of Armenia - 01/09/2014

1. What is the title, rank and position of the Legal Adviser?

(September 2014)

The Legal Adviser of the Ministry is ex officio the Head of the Legal Department. The current Legal Adviser holds the diplomatic rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.

2. What are the principal functions of the OLA?

In his capacity as the Head of Legal Department the Legal Adviser is in charge of overall supervision of the activities of the Legal Department. These activities include:

- all issues related to international law;
- treaty law /covering all aspects and stages of treaty making based on internationally accepted rules and practice and the requirements set forth by national legislation/;
- general legal expertise of draft treaties;
- publication of treaties in the Official Bulletin of the Treaties of the Republic of Armenia;
- general supervision of the implementation of the treaties to which Armenia is a Party;
- participation in preparations of national reports or/and co-ordinates the activities in this regard
- internal law /issues related to the functioning and administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including interpretation and proper application of the Law on diplomatic service, Labor law, Administrative law, expertise of civil law contracts to be entered by the Ministry, participation in the cases brought before the courts of the Republic of Armenia, drafting and expertise of legal texts, laws, President’s decrees, Government resolutions, regulations, decrees of Foreign Minister.

3. Please give a brief description of staff employed by the OLA, including overseas staff. What is the distribution of posts between men and women within the OLA and what category of staff do they respectively belong to?

OLA is composed of qualified professionals with legal background recruited through open competition. Most of them are diplomats who from time to time are assigned diplomatic posts abroad while civil servants and other employees on contractual basis remain in the Department. Currently 80% of OLA are women.

4. Are there any specific recruitment and promotion policies, provisions and/or quotas to ensure non-discrimination and equal opportunities, e.g. for the underrepresented sex, for persons with disabilities or for persons belonging to ethnic or religious minorities or of immigrant origin?

The recruitment and promotion in OLA is based on general principal of non-discrimination as mentioned in Armenian legislation and treaties to which Armenia is a Party. Given the specific nature of diplomatic and civil services some criteria such as age, nationality, specific educational and professional requirements are taken into consideration.

5. Is OLA staff trained on gender equality issues and are these issues mainstreamed into the OLA’s work?

Professional lawyers of OLA have an accurate level of knowledge on the legislation of the Republic of Armenia (including the treaties in force) that regulates gender equality issues, international standards and the progress made in that field.

6. Briefly describe the organisation and structure of the OLA.

The legal department consists of two divisions:

1. Division of international treaties
2. Division of implementation of international treaties and internal law.

Each of the division coordinates the activities respectively as listed above.

7. What is the OLA’s place within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

The legal department is a structural unit of the Ministry with an equal status to other Departments.

8. What are the main contacts of the OLA within Government?

According to the Law on Treaties of Armenia the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the main body which coordinates activates related to treaty making. While fulfilling their functions the staff members of OLA are in permanent contact with the Office of the President, Government Staff, the Ministries, other governmental bodies. However, the main partners are the Office of the President, the Government Staff, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance.

9. Please describe the relations of the OLA with lawyers in private practice, academics and legal institutions.

Lawyers in private practice, academics and legal institutions are often contacting the legal Department on questions related to the status of treaties since the department is the Depositary of the treaties as well.

The department is involved in co-operation with various international non-governmental and governmental organizations. While analyzing the developments and practices of international and European law, preparing national reports or/and coordinating preparation of such reports, the department actively cooperates with various academic institutions (mainly universities) and specialized NGOs.

10. Please provide a brief bibliography on the OLA, if available.