Practice

United Nations

We advise States, individuals and entities on legal issues involving the UN and State diplomatic missions to the UN

Our firm, recognized around the world for its expertise in Public International Law and representation of sovereign States, has a specialized Practice Group dedicated to serving States and their Permanent Missions to the United Nations, as well as entities and individuals involved with the United Nations.

Foley Hoag is consistently ranked in the top tier of international law firms specializing in Public International Law and representation of sovereign States. Chambers Global has ranked our firm in Band One for the past eleven years, one of only three law firms worldwide to enjoy that distinction. Our team of multilingual, multijurisdictional attorneys has successfully represented more than 60 sovereign States, including their embassies, consulates and officials in over 100 proceedings, including employment disputes and advisory matters. 

Our United Nations Practice Group provides legal advice, capacity building training, and representation to State Sovereigns on matters before and relating to the United Nations. This includes matters before the General Assembly, Sixth Committee to the General Assembly (Legal Affairs), Security Council, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), among other bodies. The group also provides legal representation to Permanent Missions to the United Nations, consulates, and embassies on matters before U.S. Courts, including under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The group also advises individuals, NGOs and private entities on matters involving the UN and advises States on cases before UN treaty enforcement bodies.

According to Chambers Global our team is “highlighted for its dedicated United Nations practice, offering advice and representation to sovereigns before UN bodies”. The group has also been recognized in Global Arbitration Review and Legal 500.

The group is chaired by Christina Hioureas, who, before joining the firm, served as legal adviser to a United Nations Member State and represented that State on the Sixth Committee (Legal Affairs).

Areas of Focus

Our expertise is wide-ranging and our attorneys specialize in a number of related areas, including:
  • Counsel of States on United Nations matters 
  • Representation of States in disputes before international courts and tribunals
  • Representation of States before U.S. courts

Experience

STATE ADVISORY WORK BEFORE THE UNITED NATIONS
  • Advised Qatar in two proceedings before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and ad hoc Conciliation Commissions concerning international human rights law.
  • Represented a State in negotiations before the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group II regarding the finalization of a Convention and Guidelines on the Enforcement of Settlement  Agreements Obtained Through International Mediation.
  • Represented two States in negotiations before the UNCITRAL Working Group III on Investor State Dispute Resolution Reform (ISDS).
  • Engaged by the European Commission to prepare and conduct capacity building training on investor State dispute resolution and intra-EU BITS for EU member State.
  • Researched, strategized and prepared interventions for debates before the Sixth Committee to the General Assembly on the work of the International Law Commission (ILC) for various States.
  • Prepared interventions before the UN Security Council for various States on issues ranging from humanitarian situations and peacekeeping to climate change.
  • Advised a State in the preparation of UN General Assembly Resolution and Explanatory Memorandum for an advisory opinion on decolonization.
  • Advised a State on matters raised in international human rights reports, particular regarding religious freedom concerns.

PRIVATE ENTITY, NGO AND INDIVIDUAL ADVISORY WORK BEFORE THE UN
  • Represented the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in connection with the protection of cultural property before various UN bodies and independent experts in connection with Turkey’s unilateral reconversion of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Hagia Sophia and Chora Monastery, into mosques.
  • Advised a private entity in connection with negotiations with the UN on a tender process and existing contractual framework dispute with a UN agency.
  • Represented a class of individuals in a property dispute relating to a UN agency. 
  • Represented the International Conference on Asian Political Parties in seeking Observer Status before the UN.
  • Advised an NGO in obtaining United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) status following a nine-year deferral of application.
  • Advised a sovereign Mohawk Nation on the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, advised on UN procedures, and provided advice related to recognition.
  • Represented members of a minority diaspora group in advocating for minority rights through the Universal Period Review of Cameroon and before relevant Special Rapporteurs regarding the human rights crisis in Cameroon.
  • Advised a U.S. state and local government on the implementation of the CEDAW into state and city law.
  • Advised an NGO on international law implications in connection with reproductive rights and access to healthcare.

REPRESENTATION OF PERMANENT MISSIONS TO THE UNITED NATIONS BEFORE U.S. COURTS
  • Represented the Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the UN in a tort claim before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York involving the FSIA.
  • Represented Angola, the Angolan Embassy in the U.S., and numerous Angolan government officials in a lawsuit brought by a foreign national in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
  • Represented the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for alleged personal injuries caused by an employee.
  • Represented the Permanent Mission of Chile to the UN in an employment dispute before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • Represented the Consulate of Peru in New York in an employment dispute before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
  • Represented the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN in a construction dispute before the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York.
  • Advised an African state’s permanent mission to the UN on a threatened discrimination lawsuit by a local hire.
  • Advised a European state’s permanent mission to the UN on a threatened employment dispute by a local hire.