Judgment No. 2411
1. The impugned decision is set aside.
2. The EPO shall pay the complainant arrears of the dependants' allowance from 1 September 1996 up to the date when it commenced actual payment of that allowance.
"It is not acceptable that the Administration has attempted to upgrade its practice to the status of law when the law itself says nothing of the sort; nor can the practice of an organisation be invoked to deny its officials their written rights. Fairness, reasonableness, and adherence to the known facts outweigh in this case the principle that ignorance of the law is no excuse. This approach indeed upholds that principle. The complainant did not act against any fundamental tenet of the law; he was simply late – yet not unreasonably late, as well as being in good faith – in claiming his rights, whereas no express time limits are set out in the rules."
applicable law; organisation's duties; practice; written rule; no provision; right; duty to be informed; ignorance of the rules; duty to know the rules