I have the honour of speaking today on behalf of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. We thank the Secretary-General, the Internal Justice Council, and the Office of the Ombudsman and Mediation Services for their respective reports. CANZ has been a long-standing advocate for a fair and effective system of internal justice for the United Nations.
We welcome the progress that has been made over recent years as we consider further developments that may be needed to ensure the system continues to operate according to its goals. In this respect, we thank the Secretary-General in particular for his comprehensive report detailing the statistics on the functioning of the system of administration of justice and responding to the specific requests of the General Assembly contained in resolution 67/241.
CANZ acknowledges the positive role the Office of Staff Legal Assistance plays in the internal justice system. We have taken note of the considerable growth in the OSLA’s caseload since 2009 and the on-going challenges it has faced in responding to the high volume of requests. In this regard, CANZ remains committed to finding a legally appropriate and efficient way for staff to contribute to the funding of the office. On this issue, we see merit in adopting an automatic payroll deduction with an opt-out provision, as suggested in the report of the Secretary-General.
We also welcome the Secretary-General’s intention to present a code of conduct for external legal services at the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly. However, we are also mindful of the Report of the Internal Justice Council, which recommends one common code of conduct for all counsel who appear before the Dispute Tribunal or the Appeals Tribunal. Given the rationale that different standards could potentially violate the principle that all parties in a dispute should be equal, CANZ recommends that the Secretary-General consider the feasibility of extending the code of conduct to cover all counsel.
Similarly, we note the Council’s concern regarding the risk posed by the current approach to privileges and immunities for judges in the Disputes and Appeals Tribunals, and consider that the issue warrants further attention.
CANZ takes note of the remainder of the recommendations and proposals made by the Secretary-General. We look forward to engaging constructively on these issues, including with our colleagues in the 5th Committee, to ensure that the administration of justice is the fair, effective and efficient system we intended it to be.