Overall mandate

To discharge the tasks necessary to enable the Secretary General ("SG") to fulfil his/her role as depositary of the treaties of the Council of Europe ("CoE"), as Head of the Secretariat and as representative of the legal personality of the organisation in conformity with the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities;
To implement the Secretary General's Rule No. 1390 of 11 May 2017;
To manage issues related to the development and implementation of public international law;
To assist the Advisory Panel of Experts on Candidates for election as Judge to the European Court of Human Rights ("the Advisory Panel"), set up by CM/Res (2010) 26;
To provide legal assistance to the Council of Europe Development Bank ("the Bank").

Main objectives

  • to promote respect of legal standards, in particular internal ones, by the different CoE bodies and instances as well as by the SG and Major Administrative Entities ("MAE") by ensuring a correct and coherent interpretation of the legal texts; 
  • to ensure that legal provisions including the privileges and immunities of the CoE its staff are respected, and the legality of contracts signed by or on behalf of the SG. In addition, a senior staff member of DLAPIL acts as the legal adviser to the bodies of the Bank;
  • to assist the SG in the exercise of his or her functions as depositary of CoE treaties;
  • to assist the representative of the SG in the exercise of his or her functions within the Co-ordination system;
  • to reply in the name of the SG to administrative complaints introduced under the Staff Regulations;
  • to represent the SG, if necessary having recourse to the services of external specialists, in internal litigation procedures, in particular before the Administrative Tribunal, and in any disputes with third parties;
  • to co-ordinate the work of the Committee of Experts on Public International Law (CAHDI), providing its secretariat, assisting it in performing its role as European Observatory of reservations and updating its data bases;
  • to provide the secretariat of the Advisory Panel including its liaison with the Parliamentary Assembly ("PACE"), the Committee of Ministers ("CM") and the Parties to the Convention.

To meet these objectives, the DLAPIL

  • provides both background legal information and legal advice to the SG and, when appropriate, to MAEs and other CoE institutions and instances; 
  • participates in the meetings of the CM and its Rapporteurs Groups and responds, orally or in writing, to consultations concerning legal matters;
  • in accordance with the instructions and guidelines issued by the SG, contributes to the planning, implementation and assessment of intergovernmental co-operation activities in the field of international law, assists and advises the SG in this field and represents him or her in events connected with this topic ;
  • provides legal assistance to the competent MAEs in the preparation of draft conventions, agreements or recommendations and participates in procedures leading to their adoption;
  • ensures the legal management of treaties and of partial and/or enlarged agreements ("PEAs") concluded within the CoE; prepares the ceremonies for the signature, ratification or accession to treaties; registers and notifies to States all legal documents received by the Treaty Office and keeps the UN updated about treaty developments in the CoE;
  • manages the database of the Treaty Office and disseminates information concerning CoE treaties and maintains a register of documents pertaining to PAEs; ensures the legal protection of the European emblem;
  • participates in meetings of the Bank and provides the legal opinions required;
  • exchanges and shares information and experience with the Legal Advisors of International Organisations, in particular of the Co-ordinated Organisations, and liaises with the International Law Commission;
  • participates in the Tenders Board and provides an opinion on draft contracts, memoranda, endorsements prepared by CoE Departments.

Visual ID description

Directorate of
Legal Advice and
Public International Law
useful links