“Law at the UN: Does it Matter?”, a Conversation with Miguel de Serpa Soares


  • DATE / TIME:
    2014•12•02    18:30 - 19:30

    On 2 December 2014, UNU will host “Law at the UN: Does it Matter?”, a conversation with Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel. This event will start at 6:30 PM at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo.

    The UN Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) provides unified legal services for the entire UN Organization. Committed to international law surrounding treaties, war, peacekeeping, oceans and criminal justice, the OLA also presides over legal agreements with UN facility host countries and advises nations on legal system development — all while overseeing internal legal affairs for a UN staff of more than 60,000.

    Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares will join UNU Rector David M. Malone for a conversation examining the extraordinary range of legal matters that the OLA is tasked to confront. As the UN’s top legal adviser, Mr. Serpa Soares will address the UN’s responsibility to uphold the rule of law and the demanding role of administering international justice in the context of some of today’s most acute issues, ranging from Ebola virus disease and the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic to maritime disputes and piracy.

    The UNU Conversation Series aims to foster audience participation: you are encouraged to engage with the speakers during the conversation and at the reception that will follow, where all audience members are invited to enjoy the food and drinks that will be served while exchanging ideas and making new contacts.

    Please note that this event will be in English only; Japanese interpretation will not be provided. Advance registration (by 1 December) is required. Please click on the REGISTER button above to access the registration page.

    About the speaker

    Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares was appointed as the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel in September 2013.  He oversees the Office of Legal Affairs, the overall objectives of which are to provide a unified central legal service for the United Nations. The Office of Legal Affairs employs approximately 200 staff of more than 60 nationalities.

    Mr. Serpa Soares has extensive experience in legal and international affairs, having represented his country in various bilateral and multilateral international fora, including the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, the Committee of Public International Law Advisers of the Council of Europe and the International Criminal Court’s Assembly of State Parties.

    Before taking up his current position, Mr. Serpa Soares was Director General of the Department of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal from 2008. Earlier in his career, he acted as Legal Adviser to the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the European Union, Brussels (1999-2008).

    Born in Angola in 1967, Mr. Serpa Soares holds a degree (Licenciatura) in law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon (1990), where he also served as Assistant Lecturer from 1989 to 1993, and a Diplôme de Hautes Etudes Juridiques Européennes, Collège d’Europe, Bruges (1992).


    2F Reception Hall
    United Nations University
    53-70, Jingumae 5-chome
    Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925