Judgment No. 537
1. THE IMPUGNED DECISION IS QUASHED AND THE COMPLAINANT IS REFERRED BACK TO THE WHO FOR RECALCULATION OF THE BENEFIT PRESCRIBED IN RULE 1030.3.4.
2. THE COMPLAINANT IS AWARDED 2,000 SWISS FRANCS IN COSTS.
The Tribunal interpreted the French and English versions of the relevant rule according to the usual methods. It found that the latter had not been modified when the rules were amended, that the corresponding old rule refers to a section which in no way precludes the accumulation of termination payments and disability benefits. The Tribunal took the view that it was the French text of the rule which should be applied, not the English text.
interpretation; language of rule; accumulation; terminal entitlements; disability benefit
"Both the French and the English are authentic. In such circumstances the Tribunal will interpret the texts according to the usual methods. This approach may of course put the complainant in an awkward position. A staff member may act on an explicit provision and later discover it to be erroneous. This may be an important consideration of equity, but it cannot be maintained on that account that it is for each staff member to choose the language version which suits him best."
competence of tribunal; authentic version; interpretation; language of rule
"The Executive Board adopted the French version of [WHO Staff Rule] 1030.3.4, and the Executive Board alone could amend it. Instead it was the Director-General who decided to alter the French text, and the fact that he did is immaterial since according to Rule 020 the Director-General's authority is limited to making proposals for amendment. [...] Accordingly, his so-called 'correction' is in itself null and void. Either he discovers an error, and the original text must be applied; or else he alters the adopted text without being competent to do so."
Organization rules reference: ARTICLES 020 AND 1030.3.4 OF WHO STAFF RULES
competence; staff regulations and rules; amendment to the rules; provision; decision-maker; executive head; executive body; proposal