United Nations Administrative Tribunal
Frequently Asked Questions
In accordance with article 2 (2) of the Statute of the Tribunal:
Ø Staff members, or former staff members, of the United Nations or of any other body which has accepted the competence of the Tribunal.
Ø Any person who has succeeded to such a staff member’s rights on his or her death, such as a widowed spouse or legal heir.
Ø Any other person able to demonstrate that he or she is entitled to rights under any contract or terms of appointment, including the provisions of staff regulations and rules upon which the staff member could have relied.
In accordance with article 7 of the Statute of the Tribunal:
Ø For the vast majority of cases, an application cannot be filed unless the matter has already been considered by a joint body such as the Joint Appeals Board, Joint Disciplinary Committee or the Advisory Board on Compensation Claims. It is important to note that an application to the Tribunal should not appeal the recommendations of the joint body but, rather, the decision taken on behalf of the Respondent on those recommendations.
Ø In rare cases, the Secretary-General and the Applicant agree to submit an application directly to the Tribunal, without the matter having gone through the joint body procedure outlined above. This is known as direct submission, and is only possible when there is no dispute as to the factual circumstances of the case. Such applications should include a statement of facts which has been agreed upon by both parties.
In accordance with article 7 of the Statute of the Tribunal:
Ø Where the joint body’s recommendations were favourable to the applicant but rejected by the Respondent, the deadline is 90 days from the date the applicant was advised of the Respondent’s decision.
Ø Where the joint body’s recommendations were favourable to the applicant but the Respondent failed to take any action within 30 days of receiving the recommendations, the applicant may request the joint body for a copy of the report. The Applicant may then file an application on the assumption that the Respondent will reject the recommendations (the application may be amended or withdrawn if necessary). The deadline is 90 days from the date the applicant is sent the joint body’s report.
Ø Where the joint body’s recommendations were unfavourable to the applicant, the Applicant may file an application on the assumption that the Respondent will accept the recommendations(the application may be amended or withdrawn if necessary). The deadline is 90 days from the date the applicant is sent the joint body’s report.
If it is not possible to meet the 90 day deadline, extensions of time may be requested by sending a signed, written request by mail, e-mail or fax to the Executive Secretary before the expiration of the deadline.
Ø Any person who is eligible to file an application may apply to intervene in a case in which he or she has a right which might be affected by the Tribunal’s judgement in the case.
Ø An application for intervention can be filed at any stage of the proceedings in the case. It must comply with the usual requirements for documents filed with the Tribunal. The Tribunal will rule on the admissibility of the application for intervention when it takes up the case. If admissible, it will be transmitted to the parties in the case.
Ø Information concerning the personal and official status of the Applicant.
Ø Pleas, clearly setting out “all the measures and decisions” the Tribunal is requested to order or take.
Ø Explanatory statement, “set[ting] out the facts and the legal grounds on which the pleas are based”. Documentation referred to or relied upon should be attached as an annex (see below) and the annex number should be indicated, where relevant, in the text of this statement.
Ø Annexes, of all documents referred to in the explanatory statement, including the report of the joint body and the Respondent’s decision thereon, if available. Each annex should be numbered with Arabic numerals and clearly labeled “Annex 1” etc. The annexes should be certified in accordance with the requirements set out in Question 7, below.
Ø Table of contents of annexes, indicating the number, title, nature and date of each annex.
Ø Where relevant: The Tribunal requests that parties attempt not to exceed ten single-spaced pages. If this is not possible, a two-page “executive summary”, identifying the principal pleas and the grounds upon which they are sought, should be attached.
You are welcome to use this sample application as a template.
Ø documents may be submitted in any of the six official working languages of the United Nations. Any document not drawn up in any of the official languages of the Organization must be accompanied by a certified translation into one of those languages.
Ø Submissions must be filed as complete documents; they cannot be submitted in stages.
Ø Documents must be submitted in hardcopy (one original and seven certified copies)
Ø Each copy should be inexpensively bound, e.g. with spiral binding or a ring binder.
Ø Letter size or A-4 paper, printed on one side only, should be used.
Ø Annexes must be easy to locate, preferable by the insertion of numbered tabs.
With respect to certification, the Tribunal adopted the following new policy statement on certification:
Ø the original submission must be signed and a statement that the seven copies are certified as true copies of the original should be contained either in the original submission or in a cover letter; and,
Ø the first page of each individual annex to the original submission must be signed and certified. It is no longer necessary to individually certify every annex in the seven copies.
Yes. The Panel of Counsel may be able to assist, at no cost, or outside counsel may be engaged at your own expense. Please note that the Tribunal very seldom awards legal costs or expenses.
The Tribunal secretariat communicates with either the applicant or counsel, not both.
Ø Upon receipt, the Executive Secretary ensures the application meets the requirements of article 7 of the Rules of the Tribunal. If not, it is returned for correction. This does not affect the timeliness of the application. When the application is complete, it is transmitted to the Respondent.
Ø The Respondent has 90 days from the date of receipt of the application in which to file his answer. This time limit may be extended twice for 60 days and 30 days, respectively, for a total period of six months. Extensions beyond the six-month mark will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. The Respondent’s answer is transmitted to the applicant upon receipt.
Ø Applicants have 30 days from receipt of the answer in which to file Written Observations. Extensions of this time-limit may be requested by sending a signed, written request by mail, e-mail or fax to the Executive Secretary before the expiration of the deadline.
Ø Optional: Further documentation may be submitted, provided that it meets the format requirements.
Ø The Tribunal considers cases as ready for consideration once the Respondent’s answer has been filed. Note that this does not mean a case will be heard as soon as the answer has been received!
Ø The Tribunal decides how many cases it will take up at a given session, and that number of cases will be placed upon its docket.
Ø When a case is scheduled for hearing, the applicant, or counsel, is advised accordingly in writing.
Cases are taken up in the order in which they are received. There is no provision for jumping the queue (“leapfrogging”).
Ø In the vast majority of cases, the Tribunal decides cases on the basis of the documentation before it.
Ø The decision as to whether oral proceedings will be held is made by the presiding member of the panel assigned to the case.
Pursuant to article 17 of the Rules of the Tribunal, at any stage of the proceedings, the Tribunal may call for the production of documents or other evidence, or arrange for any measures of inquiry it deems necessary.
Under article 10 of the Statute of the Tribunal, the Tribunal may order specific performance. However, it must provide the Secretary-General with a monetary alternative, in case he decides that no further action should be taken in the case.
In accordance with article 10 of the Statute of the Tribunal, the normal cap on compensation is two years’ net base salary. The Tribunal has the power to exceed this cap when it considers that there are exceptional circumstances warranting a higher amount.
Ø The Tribunal does not normally award costs.
Ø In rare cases, it has awarded costs to applicants that it deemed unavoidable, reasonable and to have exceeded the normal cost of litigation.
Ø It does not order costs against unsuccessful applicants. However, while the Tribunal has indicated that it can and will award costs against applicants who file frivolous cases, or those who abuse the system of administration of justice, it has yet to make such an order.
Ø At the end of the session, Applicants are advised in writing that judgement has been rendered and when the judgement may be expected to be distributed.
Ø It takes the secretariat of the Tribunal approximately two months to prepare the judgements for distribution.
Ø All judgements are sent for translation in English and French, as appropriate.
Ø Under article 11 of the Statute of the Tribunal, all judgements are final and without appeal.
Ø However, under specific conditions set out in article 12 of the Statute of the Tribunal, either party may submit a request for revision or correction of judgement. The Tribunal will also consider requests for interpretation of judgement. All such requests must be filed as new applications and will be strictly scrutinized. They may not be used as an attempt to re-litigate the case.
Implementation of judgements, including payment of compensation, is dealt with by the relevant budgetary offices. The Tribunal secretariat is not privy to this process and is unable to do any follow-up.
No. In accordance with current jurisprudence, the Tribunal is of the view that the Respondent’s failure to implement an order is a new administrative decision which must be the subject matter of a new case. Consequently, an applicant should follow the normal appeals procedure; that is, request administrative review of the decision and, if the request is denied, appeal to the Joint Appeals Board. The resulting decision of the Respondent may then be appealed to the Tribunal. It should be noted that such litigation is seldom required.
Ø All judgements of the Tribunal are distributed to the parties in hard copy, in electronic format, or both.
Ø Electronic copies of judgements are provided to any interested party upon request.
Ø All judgements are also placed on the UNAT website. Judgements rendered from 2005 onwards are published online in an anonymous format. In a recent policy statement on internet publication, the Tribunal indicated that it will not remove or make anonymous judgements rendered prior to 2005.
Copyright, United Nations Administrative Tribunal, 2006-2009.