Judgment No. 474
1. The Laboratory shall pay the complainant compensation amounting to 10,000 Deutschmarks, plus 1,000 Deutschmarks in costs.
2. His other claims are dismissed.
The decision not to renew the complainant's contract was not based on any objective grounds: his behaviour and work did not prompt such criticism as would warrant the [...] decision[;] there is no reason to suppose that there were any shortcomings which precluded extending his appointment[;] the [organisation] does not contend that keeping the complainant on its staff would be against its own interests. [And it does not cite] the need to carry out structural reform or make savings. The Director-General [...] drew a clearly mistaken conclusion from the facts".
grounds; fixed-term; non-renewal of contract; mistaken conclusion
The Staff Rules preclude appeals against non-renewal of appointment. The material provision "does have force within the organisation in that it preclude bringing certain appeals to the Director-General. [It] is not binding on the Tribunal, whose jurisdiction has been unconditionally recognised by the organisation and which will itself determine whether a complaint is receivable."
receivability of the complaint; internal appeal; competence of tribunal; right of appeal; iloat statute; provision; contract; fixed-term; non-renewal of contract
"In so far as the Director-General decided not to extend the complainant's appointment by one year he exercised his discretion. But that does not mean that his decision is exempt from review. The Tribunal has consistently held that such a decision may be quashed for breach of a rule of form or of procedure, for a mistake of fact or of law, for failure to take account of essential facts, for misuse of authority, or if clearly mistaken conclusions were drawn from the facts."
contract; fixed-term; non-renewal of contract; judicial review; discretion
The Director-General's authority is not absolute. The Director-General seems to regard himself as entirely free to make what decisions he will and to believe "that he need not state the grounds for his decision either to the staff member or to the Tribunal. This view rests on an error of law [...] a decision [...] is in fact subject to review by the Tribunal. Although the Tribunal has only a limited power of review, it will so exercise it that the Director-General does not enjoy the unfettered authority he asserts. In assuming his decisions to be unchallengeable, the Director-General went beyond the limits of his discretionary authority, and this error of law alone affords grounds for allowing the complaint, at least in principle."
duty to substantiate decision; grounds; contract; fixed-term; non-renewal of contract; judicial review; discretion; flaw