The Center for International Legal Affairs (CILA), formerly known as the Bureau of international Legal Services (BILS) was established in 1980 as an independent section of the Presidential Office of the Islamic Republic of Iran working directly under the auspices of the President’s Office.
The main mandate of CILA is to manage, coordinate and supervise the international legal affairs, disputes including arbitrations and litigations involving Iranian government and state entities before foreign and international courts and tribunals.
In accordance with the directive of the First Vice President of Iran, No.51953/29426 dated 2015/12/24:
“In consideration of the call for planning, coordination , effective and constant oversight of Government’s and its executive organs’ international legal affairs and also the need for standardizing approaches and concentrating the case management vis-à-vis international legal disputes and arbitration, it is hereby mandated that all ministries, organizations, institutions, state-owned entities, institutions of the Islamic Revolution and governorates, in all matters relating to international disputes, being the claimant or the respondent and in any stage including initial consultation, initiating a claim or defending against one, counterclaim, negotiation or settlement, choosing a forum for international disputes, appointing or introducing, arbitrators and/or selecting appropriate law firm/counsel, make arrangements with and obtain the advice and approval from the Center for International Legal Affairs (CILA).
Any action or creation of binding commitments without making prior arrangements with and obtaining CILA’s written approval shall be regarded as an administrative violation of this directive resulting in liability. The highest authority of each enumerated organization shall be responsible for implementation of this directive.”
Cases which are observed and managed by CILA include but not limited to:
- Claims related to the European Union’s sanctions against the Iranian governmental organizations;
- Claiming damages for the illegal sanctions before the European Court of Justice;
- Defending the rights of governmental institutions and companies against foreign parties;
- Dealing with the seizure of property and assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran and governmental agencies in the so-called anti-terrorist cases pending before the courts of the United States and the European Union;
- Managing the claims before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal.
- Coordination and monitoring international litigations before foreign courts or arbitration proceedings which involves an Iranian state entity.
CILA as a research centre
In addition to fulfilling its mandated duties and in order to advance understanding, knowledge and research in the field of international law, CILA undertakes other tasks which include but not limited to:
- Consulting and commenting on international law-related affairs referred to the Centre directly from the President’s office and other state entities and organizations;
- Conducting consolidated research on diverse topics in contemporary international law, in particular, specific legal issues pertinent to the ongoing litigations or arbitration cases at the Centre;
- Cooperation with universities and research institutes and scientific centers in Iran and abroad.
- Publishing the “International Law Review” a peer-reviewed academic Journal which is among the highest ranking and most-cited international law journals in Iran.