ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

273rd Session
Geneva, November 1998

Programme, Financial and Administrative Committee



Matters relating to the ILO Administrative Tribunal

Apportionment of the costs
of the ILO Administrative Tribunal

1. At the 270th (November 1997)(1)  and 271st (March 1998)(2)  sessions of the Governing Body, questions were asked in the Committee about the system of distribution of the costs of the ILO Administrative Tribunal between the organizations that have accepted its jurisdiction,(3)  considering the increase in their numbers in recent years. Different views were expressed about the sharing by the organizations of these costs.

2. The purpose of this paper is to describe past and current arrangements for sharing those costs and to give general information on the funding of other international administrative tribunals.


3. The Administrative Tribunal of the League of Nations was established in 1929 to hear disputes of the staff of both the League of Nations and the International Labour Office. When the League of Nations was dissolved in 1946, its Assembly requested the ILO to take over that Tribunal as the ILO Administrative Tribunal. The transfer was confirmed in 1947 by the International Labour Conference, which on the same occasion adopted a revised version of the Tribunal's Statute that did not provide for recognition by organizations other than the ILO. According to the original Statute, the costs of the Tribunal were to be borne exclusively by the ILO. Article IX of the Statute reads:

  1. The administrative arrangements necessary for the operation of the Tribunal shall be made by the International Labour Office in consultation with the Tribunal.
  2. Expenses occasioned by sessions of the Tribunal shall be borne by the International Labour Office.
  3. Any compensation awarded by the Tribunal shall be chargeable to the budget of the International Labour Organization.

4. As early as 1947 the World Health Organization wanted to recognize the jurisdiction of the ILO Tribunal. Having agreed that the Tribunal might be made accessible to other international organizations, the International Labour Conference amended the Statute in 1949 by adding an annex governing the conditions for such access.(4)  The annex includes the following provision:

Article IX, paragraph 2

5. From its creation the Tribunal's running costs were borne by the ILO and only the costs of sessions were shared between the defendant organizations. Because of the increase in the numbers both of the organizations, and thus officials, under the Tribunal's jurisdiction and of cases before it, the staffing and financing of the secretariat of the Tribunal had to be adapted. The Registry, which at the outset was staffed by a few temporary officials from the Office of the Legal Adviser during the Tribunal's sessions, became in the early 1970s a permanent secretariat with three full-time officials (the Registrar and two secretarial posts)(5)  plus temporary staff (translators, proof-readers, typists, etc.) during sessions. In the late 1970s the Organization, which had until then covered the running costs in its regular budget, invited the other organizations using the Tribunal to share some of those costs on the grounds that even if some of them did not have any cases before the Tribunal, the Registry still rendered them services, such as the free distribution of judgments and advice on the case law. The arrangement eventually agreed upon, and implemented for the first time in 1980,(6)  consisted in having the organizations share some of the costs of the secretariat on a pro rata basis according to the numbers of their serving staff.

6. The ILO's contribution to the running costs of the Tribunal -- based on the above arrangement -- has remained largely unchanged to date. The only change was to include six Professional work-months in the budget for 1984-1985 towards the costs of the Assistant Registrar. In the Budget for 1988-1989 the sum was increased to ten work-months.

Comparison with other tribunals

7. Apart from the ILO Tribunal, there is only one Tribunal with jurisdiction over more than one organization, namely the United Nations Administrative Tribunal. It is competent to hear complaints from staff not only of the United Nations, but also of the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Maritime Organisation and from participants in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund or their survivors. According to article 14 of its Statute:

The competence of the Tribunal may be extended to any specialized agency brought into relationship with the United Nations in accordance with the provisions of Articles 57 and 63 of the Charter upon the terms established by a special agreement to be made with each such agency by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Each such special agreement shall provide that the agency concerned shall be bound by the judgements of the Tribunal and be responsible for the payment of any compensation awarded by the Tribunal in respect of a staff member of that agency and shall include, inter alia, provisions concerning the agency's participation in the administrative arrangements for the functioning of the Tribunal and concerning its sharing the expenses of the Tribunal.

8. In practice the United Nations alone bears all the administrative costs of its Tribunal's secretariat (a full-time Registrar and clerical assistance). The Tribunal's session costs are distributed on a pro rata basis between the three organizations according to the number of cases brought against each of them. No cost is charged to the Pension Fund or to a member organization for cases brought against the Fund.

9. As for the other 14 international administrative tribunals,(7)  the parent organizations bear the full running and session costs. In some cases, such as the European Communities and the World Bank, full-time staff serve the competent body.

The current system of apportionment of the Tribunal's costs

10. As indicated above, the costs of the ILO Tribunal are borne by the ILO and by the other organizations that have accepted its jurisdiction. These fall into two categories: the costs of its permanent secretariat, or running costs, and the session costs.

Running costs

11. These consist of the costs of the core secretariat of the Tribunal, including those related to the maintenance of its online database of cases. They are partly covered from the ILO's contribution under its regular budget,(8)  the excess being shared between those organizations, including the ILO, that have accepted the Tribunal's jurisdiction, in proportion to the number of staff of each of them.(9)  For reasons of economy of billing, the ILO also absorbs any shares of other organizations that are under $180. The following tables give details of the running costs for the 1996-97 biennium and of the proportions paid by the ILO and by the other organizations. In that biennium, $526,850 or 59 per cent of the running costs were borne by the ILO, and $359,814 or 41 per cent by the other organizations

Running costs for 1996-97 (in US dollars)

Professional staff

506 366

General Service staff

363 873


16 425


886 664

Financing of running costs in 1996-97 (in US dollars)


Regular budget

494 690

Share based on number of staff

30 884

Absorption of other organizations' share (amounts under $180)

1 276

Total ILO

526 850

Other organizations' shares based on number of staff

359 814


886 664

Session costs

12. Session costs consist of the direct costs of preparing and running each session and producing the final judgments,(10)  including judges' fees and travel and subsistence costs, and the costs of legal, translation and secretarial work. The session costs are borne by the organizations that are defending cases at each session as a proportion of the total number of cases dealt with at the session. The following tables give information on the session costs billed to organizations in 1996-97 and on their financing. During that biennium the costs of hearing 189 cases were billed to organizations, seven of them to the ILO itself. The ILO was thus charged $57,022 (4 per cent), and other organizations $1,491,071 (96 per cent).

Session costs billed to organizations in 1996-97 (in US dollars)








Judges costs:


69 690

92 217

81 840

79 908

323 655

Travel and subsistence

39 497

37 446

25 952

39 282

142 177

Legal, translation and secretarial support

306 543

254 897

283 486

237 335

1082 261


415 730

384 560

391 278

356 525

1548 093

Financing of session costs in 1996-97 (in US dollars)








Total cost

415 730

384 560

391 278

356 525

1548 093

Number of cases






Cost per case

11 878

7 540

7 985

6 602

8 181

Costs paid by the ILO

11 878


31 940

13 204

57 022

Costs paid by other organizations

403 852

384 560

359 338

343 321

1491 071

Total costs

13. Running and session costs totalled $2,434,757 in 1996-97, of which 24 per cent ($583,872) was borne by the ILO and 76 per cent ($1,850,885) by other organizations. While similar figures are not available for the other organizations that have tribunals, the arrangements described in paragraphs 7 to 9 above indicate that, for the only other tribunal serving more than one organization -- the UN Tribunal -- a higher percentage is borne by its parent organization since its running costs are not charged to the other two organizations under its jurisdiction, and no charges at all are made to the Joint Staff Pension Fund. All other similar tribunals serve only the parent organization and thus all costs, including those of maintaining a permanent secretariat, are borne by that organization.

Geneva, 27 October 1998.


Percentage shares paid for 1997 costs


Number of staff


International Labour Organization (ILO)

2 268


World Health Organization (WHO)

5 378


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

2 520


International Telecommunication Union (ITU)



World Meteorological Organization (WMO)



Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

6 522


European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)

3 447


General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)



International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

1 664


World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)



European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol)

1 931


Universal Postal Union (UPU)



European Southern Observatory (ESO)



European Free Trade Association (EFTA)



Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)



European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)



World Tourism Organization (WTO)



European Patent Organization (EPO)

3 673


African Training and Research Centre in Administration for Development (CAFRAD)



Intergovernmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF)



International Centre for the Registration of Serials (CIEPS)



International Office of Epizootics (OIE)



United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

1 323


International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol)



International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)



International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)



Customs Cooperation Council (CCC)



Court of Justice of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA Court)



Surveillance Authority of the European Free Trade Association (ESA)



International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR)



International Organization for Migration (IOM)

1 009


International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)



Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)




34 562


1. GB.270/8/2.

2. GB.271/10/2.

3. Thirty-six organizations have to date accepted the jurisdiction of the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO and a new declaration of recognition is submitted to the present session of the Governing Body (see GB.273/PFA/13/2). For the list of organizations, see the Appendix to the latter document.

4. The recognition of the Tribunal's jurisdiction by WHO was approved by the Governing Body in 1949.

5. See Programme and Budget 1978-79 under Programme 290.

6. See Programme and Budget 1980-81 under Programme 290.

7. The OECD Appeals Board, the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the Appeals Board of the Council of Europe, the World Bank Administrative Tribunal, the Administrative Tribunal of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Organization of American States Administrative Tribunal, the Appeals Board of the West European Union, the Appeals Board of NATO, the Administrative Tribunal of UNIDROIT, the Appeals Board of the European Space Agency, the Appeals Board of the Institute for Management of Technology, the Tribunal of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal and the International Monetary Fund Administrative Tribunal.

8. In 1996-97, a provision of $666,848 was made under Major Programme 290 (Other Budgetary Provisions) to cover both the ILO's contribution to the running costs of the Tribunal and the costs of those cases which might be defended by the ILO. In addition, accommodation, communications and printing services are provided free of charge by the ILO.

9. The Appendix lists the percentage shares paid for 1997 costs.

10. Excluding the printing of judgments, which is provided free of charge by the ILO.

Updated by VC. Approved by RH. Last update: 26 January 2000.