John Swords

Legal Adviser and Director of Office of Legal Affairs, NATO

John Swords

John Swords was appointed as the Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Affairs at NATO Headquarters in Brussels in June 2020.

In this role, Mr. Swords is Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s chief legal adviser. He leads the multinational legal team in the Office of Legal Affairs, which provides timely legal advice on policy issues, develops consensus solutions for compliance with multinational legal requirements, and promotes and defends the Organization’s legal interests in numerous internal and external venues. He also represents NATO in external legal bodies such as the Council of Europe’s Committee of Legal Advisers and conducts regular engagements with NATO Allies, Partners, and other international organizations as well as the general public.

Prior to joining NATO, Mr. Swords worked in the United Kingdom’s Government Legal Department for 15 years. For the last six of those years Mr. Swords was the head of the Operational and International Humanitarian Law Division in the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence.

Mr. Swords was called to the bar in 2002 and is a member of Gray’s Inn.