Judgment No. 3434
The complaint is dismissed.
The Tribunal found that the EPO had correctly concluded that the complainant was not entitled to the reimbursement he claimed for the school fees of his children.
education expenses; complaint dismissed
[I]t is observed that the submissions that are contained in the brief supporting the complaint refer in part to explanations and submissions which were provided in other documents. On previous occasions, the Tribunal drew attention to Article 6(1)(b) of the Rules of the Tribunal, which states that arguments of fact and law must appear in the complaint itself, supplemented in the rejoinder if necessary. It was stated in Judgment 2264, under 3(e), for example, that those arguments may not consist of a mere reference to other documents, as that would be contrary to the Rules and would render it difficult for the other party to clearly understand the complainant’s pleas. Such references are acceptable only as illustrations. This is particularly so where, as in the present case, the annexes are bulky but are not helpfully demarcated to facilitate identification.
ILOAT reference: Article 6(1)(b) of the Rules
ILOAT Judgment(s): 2264
complaint; omission to rule on a plea; receivability of the complaint; judicial review
The Tribunal has consistently stated that the staff regulations and staff rules of an international organisation are to be interpreted without resort to international instruments. Such instruments bind State Parties.
international instrument; interpretation
The Tribunal does not find that there is any ambiguity or lack of clarity in Article 28 of the Service Regulations. Article 28(1) is intended to protect a serving or former permanent employee or household members of his or her family who suffer injury as a result of criminal or tortious acts to the person or property, by reason of the employee’s office or duties. Under Article 28(2), the EPO is to compensate a serving or former employee who suffers injury “by reason of his office or duties”. Article 28 clearly cannot assist the complainant. In the first place, the payment or reimbursement of school fees is not an injury to which this provision refers. Additionally, no reasons of office or duties attach to the complainant’s present non-active status. Accordingly, the plea based on Article 28 of the Service Regulations is unfounded.
Organization rules reference: Article 28 of the Service Regulations
staff regulations and rules; breach
The applicable principles for the interpretation of the EPO’s provisions for the reimbursement of school fees have been set out, for example, in Judgment 3310, under 7, as follows:
“The primary rule is that words in a statutory text are to be given their obvious and ordinary meaning and any ambiguity in a provision should be construed in favour of staff and not of the Organisation (see Judgment 2276, consideration 4). The construction of any instrument of this character entails the Tribunal endeavouring to ascertain the objectives sought to be achieved by the instrument having regard to the language used.”
ILOAT Judgment(s): 2276, 3310
contra proferentem; interpretation of rules