Judgment No. 4032
The complaint is dismissed.
The complainant challenges the decision not to accept for consideration on the merits her compensation claim for service-incurred injury.
injury; service-incurred; compensation; complaint dismissed
In her pleadings the complainant did not contest any of the HBA’s findings of fact or law, or any of its conclusions based on those findings. In fact, in relation to the HBA’s report, except for two unfounded allegations of minor factual errors footnoted in the brief and another also unfounded allegation in the body of the brief, there is no discussion of the content of the report in the pleadings. In her complaint, the complainant reiterates the submissions made in the internal appeal and, in effect, seeks a de novo consideration by the Tribunal of the merits. However, this is not the Tribunal’s role. The Tribunal’s role is to determine whether the decision impugned in the complaint involves a reviewable error.
The additional reason adduced by the complainant is that she was unaware of her right as a staff member to make such a claim. It is observed that the Tribunal has consistently held that “staff members are expected to know their rights: ignorance of the law is no excuse” (Judgment 1700, under 28) and has reiterated recently in Judgment 3878, under 12, that “a staff member is deemed to know the regulations and rules governing her or his appointment” (citations omitted). It follows that this additional reason is not a valid reason.
ILOAT Judgment(s): 1700, 3878
duty to be informed; ignorance of the rules; duty to know the rules
The Tribunal has conducted an extensive review of the HBA’s report. It contains a comprehensive chronology that includes the meetings and communications between the complainant and WHO, the complainant’s medical assessments, time at work and sick leave, claim for disability benefits, and other events surrounding the submission of the claim for compensation. The report also includes a detailed account of the submissions of the parties. The HBA conducted a careful and thorough analysis of each of the complainant’s arguments and made findings that were fully supported by the evidence. It must also be added that on reading the report, it is evident that the HBA was cognisant of the extremely difficult position the complainant found herself in, both medically and financially, and engaged in the consideration of whether there were valid reasons for the late filing of the claim for compensation with diligence and compassion.
In Judgment 3608, under 7, the Tribunal observed that it is well settled in the case law that “in some circumstances reports of internal appeal bodies warrant ‘considerable deference’”. The HBA’s report in this case warrants that deference. Accordingly, the complaint will be dismissed.
ILOAT Judgment(s): 3608
report of the internal appeals body
The complainant requests oral proceedings, however, the Tribunal is satisfied that the parties’ briefs and the evidence they have produced are sufficient for the Tribunal to reach an informed decision. Accordingly, the complainant’s application for oral proceedings is rejected.