LAWASIA has a strong interest in and historical connection with the United Nations. The concept of founding a Law Association for Asia and the Western Pacific was first raised publicly by Justice John Kerr (as he then was) at a United Nations human rights seminar in Afghanistan in 1964, and when LAWASIA was subsequently formed in 1966, its constitution adopted the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Far East (ESCAFE), which subsequently became the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), as its eligible regional membership base.
The choice of ESCAFE (as it then was) was logical at the time. ESCAFE was one of four existing United Nations regional hubs, and represented the region most clearly aligned with the intended focus of the new law association. ESCAFE became ESCAP in 1974, and a fifth regional commission, the Economic Commission for Western Asia (later the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) was established in the same year.
LAWASIA holds consultative status at meetings of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) subsidiary bodies. It has permanent observer status to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Its involvement with WIPO is overseen by the intellectual Property Committee of the Business Law Section.
LAWASIA also holds consultative status at the United Nations Commission on International Trade and Law (UNCITRAL). Its interest in the work of UNCITRAL is advanced by the work of its UNCITRAL Standing Committee.