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Legal Vice Presidency

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Country Operations Legal Services and Advice

The Legal Vice Presidency assists the design of operations, drafting and negotiation of legal agreements for those operations, assistance in processing their approval by the Board, and facilitating responsive action to changing circumstances during implementation of operations.

Africa and Middle East and North Africa Practice Group (LEGAM)

The World Bank work program in Africa is the largest among the Regions, and it is diverse and complex reflecting the diversity of the Region: among its 48 countries, the Region includes a mix of low-income, lower- middle-income, and upper-middle income countries, and several fragile states. 

The Middle East and North Africa Region has advanced middle income countries, some of which have increasingly turned to the Bank for fee-based services.

East Asia and Pacific and South Asia Practice Group (LEGES)

In the East Asia and Pacific Region, the Bank supports a wide range of countries, including middle income countries at various levels of development, less developed countries quickly emerging into middle income countries, small island states, fragile and post-conflict countries and countries facing capacity constraints. The development challenges vary from country to country and include infrastructure needs of sophisticated middle income countries; human development and capacity needs facing small countries in the pacific islands; disaster risk management and climate change affecting every country in the Region and environmental and social sustainability issues facing the entire region. The Region is also home to a number of more developed countries who are keen to share knowledge with other countries in the Region and in the rest of the world and who are also increasingly turning to the Bank for reimbursable advisory services.

The World Bank work program in South Asia covers eight diverse countries which are grouped into five country management units: Afghanistan; Bangladesh, Bhutan & Nepal; India; Pakistan; and Sri Lanka & Maldives.  The legal support strategy for South Asia is characterized by both real-time presence of lawyers in the field and support from lawyers, legal analysts and other staff in Washington, DC.  Legal support in the Bank’s country offices is provided by lawyers on a hub model.  Lawyers in New Delhi and Dubai each support more than one country program and flexibly back up the legal services.  

Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia Practice Group (LEGLE)

The Latin America and the Caribbean Region continues to be at the fore¬front of innovative projects in the Bank, which necessitate equally innovative legal solutions for the Region’s clients. These clients predominantly represent advanced middle-income economies, which therefore turn to the Bank for support for complex operations involving an array of sectors. In line with the World Bank’s overall strategy of reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity, the Bank’s work in this Region addresses complex development challenges by offering a unique suite of financial services beyond traditional loans. Drawing on its global expertise, the Bank also provides advisory, knowledge and convening services tailored to each country’s needs,

The Europe and Central Asia Region has advanced middle income countries, some of which have increasingly turned to the Bank for fee-based services. The Region has recently seen countries returning to borrowing, due to the global economic crisis, after having graduated from Bank lending.

Policy and Advisory Services

The Legal Vice Presidency advises on a wide range of public and private legal development challenges faced in the Bank’s client countries such as environmental and international law, justice reform, operations/information policy, and private sector development.

Environmental and International Law

The Environmental and International Law Practice Group provides support to internal and external Bank clients to promote environmentally and socially sustainable development, in accordance with Bank policies and relevant international laws. LEGEN’s work program includes providing legal advice and services to the Bank’s Regions, Global Practices and other Vice Presidencies, on the operational aspects of environmental and international law in Bank-financed projects, including those on environmental and social safeguards; knowledge creation and knowledge sharing; and development of policies and procedures relating to environmental and international law. Environmental topics include environment and natural resource issues such as climate change, biodiversity, pollution, international waters and water resource management, as well as social issues such as resettlement and indigenous peoples.

Operational Policy

The Operational Policy Practice Group provides active support on a wide spectrum of issues related to the Bank’s operational and other policy matters. It assists in the advancement of the Bank’s operational policy reform agenda by contributing actively to the modernization and simplification of Bank policies, facilitates policy implementation through advice in interpreting and applying the Bank’s policies for lending operations and contributes to the knowledge Bank by conducting research and sharing information related to the Bank’s operational policies; and provides significant support and input on legal and policy matters regarding investigations of fraud and corruption in Bank-financed projects. 

Structured Finance and Guarantees

The Structured Finance and Guarantees Practice Group works very closely with the Financial Solutions (FS) unit of the World Bank, with which it is physically co-located. FS is a specialized unit which assists all of the World Bank’s global practices to develop and structure innovative financing packages across all World Bank member countries. FS is responsible for developing, preparing and executing customized financial solutions in support of the World Bank’s investment and development policy operations, with a particular focus on raising private and public financing for infrastructure and fiscal needs in emerging markets. Mobilization of private capital is typically undertaken through private participation in infrastructure and/or raising commercial financing from loan or capital markets for the World Bank’s member countries. FS also has institutional responsibility for the World Bank’s Guarantee Program.

LEGSG provides specialized expertise in project finance, structured finance, credit enhancement and public-private financing arrangements for World Bank operations, in concert with colleagues from the Financial Solutions unit, as well as regional and global practice staff of the World Bank, and staff from World Bank Treasury. Members of LEGSG are active at all stages of the project cycle: from upstream conception, design and structuring through to approval by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, as well as reviewing, drafting and negotiating legal documentation (regularly interacting with leading international law firms acting on behalf of private sector sponsors and lenders) to financial close and beyond. In addition, LEGSG provides legal operational policy advice to World Bank departments and staff on matters related to its areas of involvement.

Corporate and Institutional Services

The Legal Vice Presidency offers advice and representation on concessional finance, corporate finance, institutional administration, and inter-institutional operational conflicts of interest.

Corporate Finance

The Corporate Finance Practice Group provides legal advice and services to the World Bank’s finance units, including the Chief Financial Officer and the following Vice Presidencies: Treasury, Chief Risk Officer, Finance and Accounting, and Development Finance.

Institutional Administration

The Institutional Administration Practice Group provides a wide-range of legal advice to clients throughout the Bank Group. LEGIA is responsible for managing the Bank’s external litigation in the US and worldwide, ensuring the protection of the Bank’s privileges and immunities. LEGIA also represents Bank Group management in internal employment litigation by preparing written pleadings and, when necessary, participating in oral proceedings that can include oral argumentation of points of law as well as evidentiary proceedings involving the examination of witnesses. 

It advises Bank Group management on ethics and employment matters, including compliance with the Staff Rules and Principles of Staff Employment as well as alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. LEGIA acts as counsel to the Board of Directors on personnel and administration matters, primarily through the Human Resources Committee and the Committee on Governance and Administrative Matters. LEGIA provides legal advice on a variety of matters throughout the Bank and, with respect to some matters, IFC, MIGA and ICSID. LEGIA also advises the Bank Group’s Corporate Procurement Unit on procurement matters.  It advises the General Services Department on real estate as well as other matters. It acts as counsel to the Bank’s Office of the Publisher, as well as other Bank units, on a variety of intellectual property issues, including trademark infringement, trademark registration, and copyright, as well as emerging social media issues. It also advises the Bank’s Human Resources Vice Presidency on the formulation of employment, compensation and benefits policies and the application of those policies to specific cases.

Legal Development Finance (LEGDF)

The Legal Development Finance Practice Group is responsible for the legal work of major aspects of the Bank’s concessional donor relationships, including with respect to IDA, trust funds and global partnerships. Its principal client is the Development Finance Vice Presidency (DFi), the Bank’s vice presidency responsible for managing and monitoring policies and procedures for World Bank development financing vehicles. DFi engages in strategic resource mobilization, playing an intermediation role to help align the needs of recipients, World Bank Group institutional priorities, and priorities of funding partners through a variety of funding instruments.

Inter-Institutional Operational Conflicts of Interest

The Legal Vice Presidency plays an important role in managing inter-institutional operational conflicts of interest that arise in the context of the operational business activities in the different entities of the World Bank Group. The General Counsel chairs the Council on Inter-institutional Operational Conflict of Interest. The World Bank Inter-institutional Conflict Of Interest Officer, responsible for advising Staff and Management on the management of Inter-institutional Conflicts of Interest and for developing training on management of inter-institutional business conflicts of interests, reports directly to the General Counsel.

Last Updated: Jun 01, 2020