Judgment No. 608
The appeal is allowed, the decision of the Director-General of 3 April 1983 is quashed, and it is ordered:
1. that the case be remitted to the Director-General to take a new decision in accordance with the terms of paragraph 7 above;
2. that the Organisation pay US$ 1,000 to the complainant as costs.
There is a regulation which provides for the Director-General to determine the frequency of salary adjustments on the basis of variation in the rate of inflation. The Director-General chose not to exercise his discretion. "He must have proceeded upon the erroneous assumption that he was under no obligation to make any adjustment at all and so could do what he liked about the frequency." The Tribunal quashes the decision, which rests on an error of law and remits the case to the Director-General for a "new decision based on the correct interpretation" of the regulation.
organisation's duties; staff regulations and rules; enforcement; interpretation; provision; salary; adjustment; cost-of-living increase; discretion
"As to its nature, a regulation designed to give protection against inflation is aimed at fixing the amount of the salary in real terms. [...] It is unlikely [...] that [such a regulation] would be framed in a manner which would permit the employer to reduce the wage if the index fell, while not requiring him to increase the wage if the index rose. Economically it was doubtless unlikely [in the country and at the time being considered] that the index would fall, but a document settling the terms of a legal relationship must provide for the unlikely as well as for the likely event."
salary; adjustment; cost-of-living increase
"As to the applications to intervene, the organisation does not object to them and undertakes to apply the Tribunal's judgment in this case to all members of its local staff whose position is identical to that of the complainant."
intervention; judgment of the tribunal; enforcement
"It is the duty of the Tribunal to ascertain the intent of the regulation and, while the intent is to be found in the language used, it is not invariably to be found in a strict grammatical construction of the language used. The nature and purpose of the regulation must be considered; also its history and the manner in which it has been applied."
staff regulations and rules; interpretation; provision; criteria