Judgment No. 995
THE COMPLAINT IS DISMISSED.
"According to Article VII(1) of the Tribunal's Statute a complaint shall not be receivable unless the impugned decision is final, the complainant having exhausted the means of redress available to him under the staff regulations. That constitutes a requirement to follow any internal procedure laid down in the Staff Regulations: the staff member must not only respect the time limits for appeal but also comply with any stipulations as to procedure in the Regulations or Implementing Rules."
ILOAT reference: ARTICLE VII(1) OF THE STATUTE
procedure before the tribunal; receivability of the complaint; internal appeal; internal remedies exhausted; time limit; staff regulations and rules; enforcement
According to paragraphs 7 and 9 of the Statutes of the UNESCO Appeals Board, appeals must be presented by the official concerned or, on his behalf, by any other member of the Secretariat stationed at headquarters. The complainant was represented by a lawyer before the Appeals Board and thereby failed to comply with the prescribed procedure. His complaint is accordingly irreceivable. The Tribunal remarks that as lawyers ordinarily have access to any judicial body the rules governing the internal appeals procedure would not be admissible before a court of law. But under the circumstances of the instant case the rules in the Board's Statutes must be construed strictly.
Organization rules reference: PARAGRAPHS 7 AND 9 OF THE STATUTES OF THE UNESCO APPEALS BOARD
procedure before the tribunal; complainant; receivability of the complaint; formal requirements; internal appeals body; internal appeal; staff regulations and rules; enforcement; counsel
The complainant argues that he gave his counsel a power of attorney and that he was not well enough to go through the appeal procedure himself; indeed that is why he did not attend the Board hearings but, not being allowed to have his counsel, was represented by a member of the Secretariat.
Such pleas might militate in favour of less strict application of the rules had the complainant, by reason of UNESCO's acts or even of its omissions, failed to grasp the consequences of his attitude. But he knew what they would be: when his counsel lodged the internal appeal on 10 October 1987 the acting Director of the Bureau of Personnel replied pointing out that it did not satisfy the requirements of the Board's Statutes and asking him "to get Mr. Agbo himself to write to the Director-General if he wants to pursue his case before the Board".
The general power of attorney he signed on 15 September 1987 in favour of authorising his counsel to act on his behalf cannot make his internal appeal valid: a power of attorney does not have the same effect in law as an appeal bearing the appellant's own signature.
counsel; power of attorney