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Conflict of interest (717,-666)

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Keywords: Conflict of interest
Total judgments found: 23

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  • Judgment 4414


    132nd Session, 2021
    European Patent Organisation
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainants filed applications for review of Judgment 4195.

    Consideration 3

    Extract:

    One of the complainants, Mr K., requests that the application be examined by judges who were not involved in Judgment 4195. This request was rejected by the President of the Tribunal, though he decided that the application for review will be considered by a panel which is not entirely the same as the panel which adopted Judgment 4195.

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 4195

    Keywords:

    application for review; conflict of interest;



  • Judgment 4399


    131st Session, 2021
    European Patent Organisation
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the decision to transfer him from a manager position to a non-managerial post.

    Judgment keywords

    Keywords:

    complaint allowed; conflict of interest; transfer;



  • Judgment 4374


    131st Session, 2021
    International Criminal Court
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainants challenge the decisions to abolish their posts and terminate their appointments.

    Consideration 10

    Extract:

    In their requests for review, all the complainants […] sought, as one of their claims for relief, the resignation of the Legal Office’s Chief and the resignation, or withdrawal of the application for re-election, of the Registrar. As the decisions responding to these requests were taken by the Registrar and transmitted to the complainants by the Legal Office under the authority of the Legal Office’s Chief, the complainants submit that it created a conflict of interest as “[t]he personal interests of the ICC Registrar and [of the] Chief of [the] Legal Office were thus directly at stake in the [requests] for [r]eview”. They assert that the Registrar and the Legal Office’s Chief were required “[to] disclose in advance any potential conflict of interest that, to the best of their knowledge, may arise in the course of their duties” in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 of Administrative Instruction ICC/AI/2011/002 of 4 April 2011 entitled “Code of Conduct for Staff Members”. The Tribunal observes that requests for review must be addressed to and responded to by the authority who took the decision being challenged and a conflict of interest cannot be invented just by including a prima facie abnormal claim for relief (such as the request for the Registrar’s resignation). The Registrar correctly considered that no conflict of interest arose from the unreasonable claims for relief.

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest;



  • Judgment 4350


    131st Session, 2021
    World Health Organization
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges WHO’s failure to provide him with a peaceful working environment and to protect him against a series of allegedly “prejudicial and unjustified adverse actions”.

    Consideration 12

    Extract:

    Ground [...], in which the complainant alleges that there was serious procedural impropriety and conflict of interest when the Deputy Chair of the GBA, having decided with the Chair of the GBA to join the two internal appeals, then sat on the GBA panel that considered the appeals, is also unfounded. The mere fact that a member of a panel decides to join internal appeals does not disqualify that member from continuing to sit on the panel during the ensuing proceedings.

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest; internal appeals body;



  • Judgment 4347


    131st Session, 2021
    Pan American Health Organization
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant impugns the decision of the Director of PAHO to impose on him the disciplinary measure of reassignment with reduction in grade.

    Consideration 25

    Extract:

    The complainant asserts that PAHO’s Office of the Legal Counsel had conflicts of interest stemming from the fact that it was consulted with regard to the performance evaluation process for Mr M. and the investigation and disciplinary procedures. This assertion is wrong. The Office of the Legal Counsel had no conflict of interest as its role is to act as PAHO’s legal advisor when consulted on any issues related to the legality of PAHO’s actions, processes and procedures, including but not limited to performance evaluations, misconduct investigations and disciplinary proceedings. The complainant is mistaken in asserting that the Office of the Legal Counsel “is presumed to defend all PAHO Staff when needed”. The Ethics Office acted in accordance with [...] the Investigation Protocol in forwarding a copy of the investigation report to the Office of the Legal Counsel so that it could ensure, prior to the issuance of the [...] letter of charges, that all applicable rules, policies and procedures with respect to the investigation had been followed and that there was sufficient information and evidence to support the charges of misconduct.

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest;

    Consideration 23

    Extract:

    Concurring with the Board of Appeal’s preliminary recommendation, the complainant alleges that there was an unlawful delegation of authority to the Director of Administration because of the failure to follow the procedure set out in paragraphs 49 to 51 of the PAHO Harassment Policy, which provide that a decision on disciplinary action shall be taken by HRM or, in case of a conflict of interest, the Deputy Director. As noted in Judgment 3958, consideration 11, “[a] conflict of interest occurs in situations where a reasonable person would not exclude partiality, that is, a situation that gives rise to an objective partiality. Even the mere appearance of partiality, based on facts or situations, gives rise to a conflict of interest”. In the present case, the former Deputy Director’s close working relationship with the complainant and other staff members in KMC created, at the very least, a perception of a conflict of interest. The Tribunal is satisfied by the justification provided by the Director of PAHO in her 27 December 2017 letter [...] that a valid conflict of interest existed for both HRM and the former Deputy Director, and finds that, in the circumstances, the delegation of authority to the Director of Administration was lawful.

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 3958

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest;



  • Judgment 4318


    130th Session, 2020
    European Patent Organisation
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant contests his objectives for the reporting exercise January to December 2015 and the composition of the Appeals Committee that issued the opinion on the basis of which the impugned decision was taken.

    Consideration 9

    Extract:

    The allegation that the Appeals Committee was improperly composed due to three of the members having been members of the Committee which was found to be unlawfully composed in Judgment 3785, is unfounded. The composition of that prior Committee was found to be unlawful as it breached the applicable rules in force at the material time, not for any reason relating to the individual members.

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 3785

    Keywords:

    composition of the internal appeals body; conflict of interest;



  • Judgment 4279


    130th Session, 2020
    European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the decision to reject her internal complaint of psychological harassment.

    Considerations 3-4

    Extract:

    [T]he complainant submits [...] that the two investigators who were appointed by the Director General to investigate her complaint [...] did not offer the requisite guarantees of impartiality.
    [...]
    The investigators appointed in this case were the Director of the Maastricht Upper Airspace Control Centre [...] and the Agency’s Head of Internal Audit. Since the departments headed by those two senior Eurocontrol’s officials did not come under the Directorate of Resources, the complainant is plainly wrong in contending that they were under the authority of Mr V. The Tribunal notes, moreover, that the officials in question considered it important to certify in their report that they did not have a reporting relationship with any of the parties to the dispute. While it is true that they were answerable to the Director General for the performance of their ordinary professional duties, that did not preclude them, in this case, from being entrusted with the investigation of the complaint in question, which was not directed against the Director General.
    Theoretically, it would doubtless have been preferable, as the Director General himself admitted in his decision of 15 May 2017, to entrust the investigation into the harassment complaint against the Principal Director of Resources to a person outside Eurocontrol. The investigators in fact acknowledged that they had experienced some “discomfort” in having to investigate Mr V.’s conduct. It is furthermore regrettable that the Rule of Application, which, under the Article 12a of the Staff Regulations, was to lay down the implementing provisions for that article, had not yet been adopted when the harassment complaint at issue was made, as the Rule did not come into force until 23 May 2017.
    However, the fact remains that these two officials – who had, in compliance with the requirements of Article 4.8 of the aforementioned Policy, received training in conducting an investigation before they took on that assignment – provided all the guarantees necessary to assume the responsibility entrusted to them.
    In this regard, the Tribunal points out that, contrary to what the complainant appears to argue in referring to Judgments 3071, 3337 and 3660, which she misinterprets, its case law does not require investigations into harassment to be entrusted to a standing investigative body specifically established for that purpose. For the relevant requirements to be met, it suffices that such investigations are carried out by completely independent investigators.
    That was the case here, since the arguments, put forward in passing by the complainant, that the independence of one of the investigators was compromised by his holding an appointment for a limited period or that he was disqualified from conducting an investigation because he himself had been the subject of a harassment complaint in the past, are irrelevant.
    Moreover, the excerpts from the investigation report and the records of the interviews on the file lead the Tribunal to consider that the complaint was investigated by the investigators with complete impartiality.

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest; impartiality; inquiry; investigation;



  • Judgment 4243


    129th Session, 2020
    World Intellectual Property Organization
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the dismissal of her complaint of discrimination and harassment.

    Consideration 9

    Extract:

    [T]he mere fact that the Assistant Director General is ordinarily under the authority of the Director General is insufficient to call his impartiality into question, since there is no evidence that he had received any instructions from the Director General.

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest;



  • Judgment 4240


    129th Session, 2020
    World Health Organization
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the decision to reassign her to the post of Senior Advisor on Innovative Strategic Information, Strategic Information and Evaluation Department.

    Consideration 10

    Extract:

    The Tribunal’s case law states that it is a general rule of law that an official who is called upon to take a decision affecting the rights or duties of other persons subject to her or his jurisdiction must withdraw in cases in which her or his impartiality may be open to question on reasonable grounds. It further states that it is immaterial that, subjectively, the official may consider herself or himself able to take an unprejudiced decision; nor is it enough for the persons affected by the decision to suspect its author of prejudice (see, for example, Judgment 3958, consideration 11). The Tribunal finds that the evidence which the complainant provides to support the allegation of conflict of interest may raise a suspicion. However, it does not provide reasonable grounds on which to hold that the Executive Director’s impartiality may have been open to question.

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 3958

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest; impartiality;



  • Judgment 4238


    129th Session, 2020
    World Health Organization
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the decision not to reclassify his post.

    Consideration 15

    Extract:

    The complainant contends that the GBA ignored his reservation concerning one of its members whom he suggested may have had a conflict of interest. According to the Tribunal’s case law, it is a general rule of law that a person called upon to take a decision affecting the rights or duties of other persons subject to her or his jurisdiction must withdraw in cases in which her or his impartiality may be open to question on reasonable grounds (see Judgment 3958, consideration 11).

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 3958

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest;



  • Judgment 4234


    129th Session, 2020
    International Office of Epizootics
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the decision to dismiss him.

    Consideration 3

    Extract:

    The proposal to dismiss the complainant was drawn up by the Director General and was introduced by the OIE’s counsel at the Council’s meeting. It is not disputed that the Director General and his Deputy did not leave the meeting room after the complainant was heard. The OIE explains in this regard that although those two senior officials are not members of the Council, the applicable rules state that they have to attend its meetings in order, among other reasons, to provide secretarial support. According to the Organisation, they “facilitated” the rest of the meeting but did not participate in the actual deliberations. These explanations are confirmed by the minutes of the meeting of the Council on 1 October 2015, which the Tribunal has examined in camera.
    However, the fact remains that, under a general rule of law which is not unique to the international civil service, a person called upon to take a decision affecting the rights or duties of other persons subject to her or his authority must withdraw in cases in which her or his impartiality may be open to question on reasonable grounds. The duty to act impartially is incumbent not only on the authority competent for issuing the final decision, but also on bodies responsible for making a recommendation to this authority (see Judgments 2667, consideration 5, and 3958, consideration 11).
    The circumstance that the complainant had initiated criminal proceedings against the Director General was liable to cast doubt on the latter’s impartiality, particularly because in this case the disciplinary action had been taken more than six months after the events and shortly after the submission of the request for compensation for harassment. The Tribunal observes in this respect that the proposal for a disciplinary measure was issued on the same day that the request for compensation for moral harassment was rejected. In these particular circumstances, the Director General ought to have entrusted the matter to the next most senior official whose impartiality could not be disputed (see Judgment 3958, consideration 13).

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 2667, 3958

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest; impartiality;



  • Judgment 4058


    127th Session, 2019
    World Customs Organization (Customs Co-operation Council)
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the decision to terminate his fixed-term appointment for serious misconduct.

    Considerations 7-8

    Extract:

    Though the complainant raised the issue of conflict of interest of the Head of the Legal Service and the Head of Administration and Personnel, neither the Appeals Board nor the Secretary General in his final decision addressed this fundamental issue.
    The existence of the above-mentioned conflict of interest is enough of a vitiating procedural flaw to require the setting aside of the decisions [...].

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest; final decision; internal appeals body; procedural flaw;



  • Judgment 4014


    126th Session, 2018
    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the decision to investigate his harassment complaint by an external investigator and not by an investigation panel provided for in the applicable rules.

    Consideration 6

    Extract:

    Even if some members of the Investigation Panel believed that they were not in a conflict of interest position and could perform their functions impartially, the fact that the complainant was a member of a small group of nine staff members on the Investigation Panel meant that a perception of conflict of interest could not be avoided. It is also observed that there is no evidence that the complainant was targeted because of the roles he played. His harassment complaint was referred to an external investigator because of the conflict of interest problem and for no other reason. The FAO was entitled to take this step of referring the matter to an external investigator and there was no legal error in it doing so.

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest;



  • Judgment 4006


    126th Session, 2018
    International Criminal Court
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant contests the decision of the Presidency of the Court to set aside his Complaint for the removal from office of the Registrar of the Court.

    Consideration 14

    Extract:

    Whether the complainant’s belief was correct or not is not raised directly for consideration in these proceedings. But it is almost certainly correct that either by operation of the doctrine of necessity, or because the Registrar could have delegated the power to deal with a formal complaint of harassment against himself under Administrative Instruction ICC/AI/2005/005, a complaint under the Administrative Instruction was capable of being processed (see the commentary in Judgment 2757, consideration 19) and, if made out, remedies of the type sought by the complainant (including compensation) could have been awarded. If this is correct, then the complainant was denied an opportunity to pursue his claim of harassment on its merits, which did not involve establishing conduct of a particularly egregious type and which would have made available many of the remedies he sought, if harassment could, as a matter of fact, be established without crossing the “threshold of gravity” thought to be established by Article 46 of the Rome Statute. If the complainant now elects to pursue a formal harassment complaint under Administrative Instruction ICC/AI/2005/005, then it would be desirable for these matters to be taken into account by the Administration in assessing whether it should raise barriers, such as time limits, in order to prevent this course being pursued.

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest; necessity;



  • Judgment 4001


    126th Session, 2018
    World Intellectual Property Organization
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the decision to confirm the appointment of Ms S. to the post of Head of the Caribbean Section.

    Consideration 8

    Extract:

    These circumstances are not the same as those in Judgment 3184, for example, in which the Tribunal stated, in consideration 15, that if a member of an internal appeal board had already expressed a concluded view on the merits of an appeal and was later appointed to a new internal appeal board to express an opinion on the same merits in a later appeal, their impartiality and objectivity could be questioned.

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 3184

    Keywords:

    composition of the internal appeals body; conflict of interest; internal appeals body;



  • Judgment 3996


    126th Session, 2018
    Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the decision not to investigate her claim of harassment, the decision to permanently transfer her and the decision to offer her an extension of appointment in her new position.

    Consideration 4J

    Extract:

    [T]he Executive Secretary’s discretionary power with respect to a transfer must necessarily yield to the objective appearance of a conflict of interest; even more, considering that the complainant herself had requested the written commitment, and that the conflict of interest cannot be superseded by a commitment or an agreement.

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest; discretion; transfer;



  • Judgment 3960


    125th Session, 2018
    European Patent Organisation
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant contests the decision in which the Administrative Council decided to further maintain his suspension while reducing his salary by half until a final decision had been made in his case.

    Consideration 9

    Extract:

    In this case, concurring with Judgment 3958, the ratio decidendi is the following: as it might reasonably be thought that the President was directly, specifically and individually offended by the misconduct for which the complainant was charged, he could not take part in any individual proceedings regarding the allegedly identified author of the alleged misconduct. The President’s participation in these proceedings has given rise to the unlawfulness of the individual decisions impugned with the Tribunal.

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 3958

    Keywords:

    bias; conflict of interest; decision quashed;



  • Judgment 3958


    125th Session, 2018
    European Patent Organisation
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant, a member of an EPO Board of Appeal, contests a decision in which the Administrative Council decided to impose upon him several measures in relation to an alleged misconduct.

    Consideration 11

    Extract:

    According to the Tribunal’s case law, “[i]t is a general rule of law that a person called upon to take a decision affecting the rights or duties of other persons subject to his jurisdiction must withdraw in cases in which his impartiality may be open to question on reasonable grounds. It is immaterial that, subjectively, he may consider himself able to take an unprejudiced decision; nor is it enough for the persons affected by the decision to suspect its author of prejudice. Persons taking part in an advisory capacity in the proceedings of decision-making bodies are equally subject to the above-mentioned rule. It applies also to members of bodies required to make recommendations to decision-making bodies. Although they do not themselves make decisions, both these types of bodies may sometimes exert a crucial influence on the decision to be taken.” (Judgment 179, under 1; see also Judgments 2225, under 19, 2671, under 10, 2892, under 11, and 3732, under 3.) A conflict of interest occurs in situations where a reasonable person would not exclude partiality, that is, a situation that gives rise to an objective partiality. Even the mere appearance of partiality, based on facts or situations, gives rise to a conflict of interest.

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 179, 2225, 2671, 2892, 3732

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest;

    Consideration 13

    Extract:

    In the present case, there is a conflict of interest on the part of the President. It stems from the fact that the alleged serious misconduct, with which the complainant was charged, might reasonably be thought to have offended the President specifically, directly and individually. This situation, by itself, casts doubts on the President’s impartiality. Considering the whole situation, a reasonable person would think that the President would not bring a detached, impartial mind to the issues involved. The argument raised by the President in his opinion to the Council (CA/C 6/15) [...], namely that pursuant to the applicable rules the President was acting within his competence and had the power and duty to take all necessary steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the Office, is immaterial. The question of a conflict of interest only arises if the official is competent. Accordingly, the question of competency is not an answer to a charge of a conflict of interest. Hence, the Administrative Council erred in not finding that the President had a conflict of interest in the matter. In this situation, in accordance with the provisions in force, the Administrative Council should have sent the matter back to the next most senior official to exercise authority instead of the President, who was precluded from exercising authority because of his conflict of interest (see Judgement 2892, under 11).

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 2892

    Keywords:

    bias; conflict of interest;



  • Judgment 3862


    124th Session, 2017
    International Criminal Court
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the termination of her appointment on disciplinary grounds.

    Considerations 26-27

    Extract:

    The complainant argues that this conclusion involves an error of law and the provisions concerning a potential conflict of interest are engaged when the conflict might improperly influence the performance of official duties and responsibilities. A Court Clerk does not perform duties which might be influenced by such a conflict and, accordingly, the provisions did not operate to require disclosure. However this argument involves too narrow a reading of the provisions which, particularly in relation to a court, should be construed purposefully. That is to say, they should be construed in a way that achieves the objects of the provisions which, in large measure, are intended to preserve and maintain the integrity of the organisation to which they apply. Courts must not only administer justice fairly and impartially (while this is obviously true of judges it is also true of the administrative structures supporting the judges) but must also be seen to be doing so.
    The obligation to disclose serves several purposes. One is that once the conflict is disclosed remedial action might be taken by persons in authority to offset the effect or possible effect of bias created by the conflict. That might include the review or revision of decisions taken by a conflicted staff member or the allocation of tasks to a staff member who was not conflicted. Another is to enable persons in positions of authority (including supervisors) to counsel staff members about how best to manage and deal with the conflict of interest.

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest;



  • Judgment 3732


    123rd Session, 2017
    Universal Postal Union
    Extracts: EN, FR
    Full Judgment Text: EN, FR
    Summary: The complainant challenges the decision to dismiss his allegations of harassment and abuse of authority as unfounded.

    Consideration 3

    Extract:

    The Tribunal is of the opinion that the contested JAC member could not be a member of the JAC assessing the complainant’s appeal if he had been interviewed by the Internal Auditor, since the JAC had to assess the testimonies on which the Internal Auditor’s report was based. His impartiality may be open to question (see Judgment 2671, under 10) as there are reasonable grounds for concluding that there was an actual conflict of interest, not merely a perceived conflict (see Judgment 2225, under 19).

    Reference(s)

    ILOAT Judgment(s): 2225, 2671

    Keywords:

    conflict of interest; impartiality; internal appeals body;

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Last updated: 23.09.2021 ^ top