Information note



In connection with the seventy-third session of the International Law Commission to be held from 18 April to 3 June and 4 July to 5 August 2022, the United Nations Office at Geneva is organizing the fifty-sixth session of the International Law Seminar, to be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from 4 to 22 July 2022.

Candidates can apply online on the website ( between 11 February to 15 March 2022. Applications received after 15 March 2022 will not be considered.  Candidates will be notified in early May 2022 if they have been selected to participate.

The Seminar was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Candidates who applied in 2020 and 2021 were eligible, upon request, to carry over their application to 2022. It is important to note that the Selection Committee will therefore review applications from a three-year pool of candidates. This year, on an exceptional basis, 35-38 participants will be selected by the Selection Committee to participate in the Seminar.


New candidates applying this year must be between 24 and 38 years of age on 1 January 2022.  This rule will be strictly applied. Candidates who carried over their application from 2020 and 2021 must provide one more recent letter of recommendation.


The Seminar is designed for postgraduate students in international law, young scholars, government officials as well as young lawyers in the field of international law, to widen their knowledge of both the work of the International Law Commission and of the codification and progressive development of international law. It also provides an opportunity for young lawyers from different legal systems and cultures to exchange views regarding items on the agenda of the Commission.

The International Law Seminar is not intended to be an introduction to international law. Applicants must prove sound knowledge of public international law, based on either their postgraduate studies or significant professional experience.

Selection process

The Selection Committee is composed of two officials of the United Nations and is chaired by a professor of international law of a Geneva‑based university.  All eligible applications will be considered; however, the Selection Committee will not provide individual feedback on applications or explanations of its decisions which are final and cannot be appealed.

Travel and Covid-19

While the organizers of the Seminar are committed to organizing a fully in-person Seminar, new restrictions may be imposed (such as an appearance of a new variant), and then we are subject to the regulations of the host country.  Selected participants should anticipate travel to Geneva, Switzerland from 4 to 22 July 2022. Participants should note that the United Nations will not cover any costs related to sanitary measures in place for travel due to Covid-19 (such as costs related to quarantine measures upon return to country of origin, testing such as, but not exclusively, PCR tests). There may be other factors related to cost of travel affected by Covid 19-related measures that the organizers would have to examine on a case-by-case basis.


Participants will attend the plenary meetings of the International Law Commission as well as lectures given by members of the Commission, officials of the United Nations or Specialized Agencies and other professors from academic institutions in Geneva. Participants are expected to take active part in the discussions following each lecture and to produce short reports within small working groups on topics on the agenda of the Commission.

The working languages of the United Nations are English, French and Spanish. As simultaneous interpretation may not be available for all the sessions, candidates must be proficient in at least two of the working languages. All participants will be given access to the library and the cyberspace of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

While participation in the Seminar is free, the United Nations cannot cover the cost of travel or subsistence for all participants. A limited number of fellowships will be made available to participants from developing countries for travel and/or living expenses.