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Judgment No. 4727

Decision

1. The decision of the Vice-President of Directorate-General 4 of 25 March 2019 is set aside to the extent that it rejected the complainantís claims for damages.
2. The EPO shall pay the complainant moral damages in the total amount of 5,500 euros.
3. It shall also pay him 1,000 euros in costs.
4. All other claims are dismissed.

Summary

The complainant asserts that the EPO failed to assist him in his attempts to obtain corrected identity cards for his children.

Judgment keywords

Keywords

complaint allowed; duty of care

Consideration 2

Extract:

The complainant requested oral proceedings. However, in view of the abundant and sufficiently clear submissions and evidence produced by the parties, the Tribunal considers that it is fully informed about the case and does not therefore deem it necessary to grant this request.

Keywords

oral proceedings

Considerations 4-5

Extract:

[T]he question of the alleged lack of injury suffered by the complainant in fact relates to the merits of the complaint rather than to its receivability, and the objection to receivability raised must therefore be rejected. Clearly, a complainant has a cause of action when seeking compensation from an organisation for injury that she or he claims to have suffered as a result of an unlawful act on the part of that organisation.
According to a general principle of law which the Tribunal applies in its case law, a claim for compensation can only be granted if the complainant provides evidence of the alleged unlawful act, of the injury suffered and of the causal link between the unlawful act and the injury (see, for example, Judgments 4156, consideration 5, 3778, consideration 4, 3507, considerations 14 and 15, 2471, consideration 5, and 1942, consideration 6).

Reference(s)

ILOAT Judgment(s): 1942, 2471, 3507, 3778, 4156

Keywords

moral injury; receivability of the complaint; burden of proof; misconduct

Considerations 6 & 10

Extract:

As regards the particular legal context of the present dispute, it must be noted that the issuing of identity documents or visas to persons enjoying the privileges and immunities conferred by the seat agreement of an international organisation is the prerogative of the host State. The only duty on the organisation in question in that regard is to provide its officials with the necessary assistance to ensure that the rights inherent in their status as members of staff of that organisation are complied with by that State. Furthermore, the organisation is free to choose how it approaches the authorities in order to discharge that duty. As a result, the organisation can only be liable for delays in a suitable visa or identity document being issued if it has acted in bad faith, behaved inappropriately in its relations with the host State or been negligent in monitoring the progress of the case (see, in particular, on these various points, Judgment 3510, delivered in connection with a previous complaint lodged by the complainant concerning the initial refusal of the Dutch authorities to grant an entry visa to his daughter S., considerations 9, 12 to 14, 17 and 18, and the case law cited therein).
[...]
Admittedly, as has already been stated, issuing identity cards is a matter for the authorities of the host State and it is clearly beyond the competence of the Tribunal to examine the conditions in which the authorities assume that responsibility.

Reference(s)

ILOAT Judgment(s): 3510

Keywords

organisation's duties; duty of care; host state

Consideration 14

Extract:

[I]t should be recalled that international civil servants are entitled to expect their cases to be examined by the internal appeal bodies within a reasonable time and failure to deal with them expeditiously constitutes misconduct on the part of the organisation concerned (see, for example, aforementioned Judgment 3510, consideration 24, or Judgment 2116, consideration 11). Under the Tribunalís case law, the amount of compensation liable to be granted under this head ordinarily depends on two essential considerations, namely the length of the delay and the effect of the delay on the employee concerned (see, for example, Judgments 4635, consideration 8, 4178, consideration 15, 4100, consideration 7, and 3160, consideration 17).

Reference(s)

ILOAT Judgment(s): 2116, 3160, 3510, 4100, 4178, 4635

Keywords

moral injury; delay in internal procedure



 
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