The Law of International Institutions

By D. W. Bowett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS

THE creation of international civil services, or secretariats,whose members are bound to the organisation by a contractualrelationship, made desirable the establishment of special tribunals competent to determine disputes arising from that relationship, once the viewwas accepted that the members acquired legal rights which ought to be protected by a system of administrative justice, on the continental pattern, and not left to the unfettered discretion of the executiveas is largely the practice in the Anglo-American systems. Directsubmission of such disputes to the P.C.I.J., or now the I.C.J., was impossiblein view of the fact that the parties were individuals on the one handand international organisations on the other, neither having any locusstandi before these courts in contentious cases. Submission to municipal courts was inappropriate, for it conflicted with the generalimmunity from local jurisdiction claimed by the organisations and, moreover, the dispute generally involved a question of the internal,administrative law of the organisation and not local law; municipal courts were themselves generally reluctant to assume any jurisdiction over such disputes even when no agreement on immunities existed.1 Hence, if the acquired rights of the staff members were to be protected by an impartial judicial body, special tribunals had to be created.

In the League a system of appeal to the Council was, in 1927, replaced by a permanent administrative tribunal, used also by the ILO, and the tribunal continues today as the ILO Administrative Tribunal. The International Institute of Agriculture in Rome established a tribunal in 1932, after the Italian courts had declinedjurisdiction over disputes between staff and the Institute.2 The United Nations did not continue with the League's tribunal but, after considerable opposition to the idea of a tribunal, established its own tribunal in 1949. The Statute of the ILO Tribunal was amended in 1949 to enable other international inter-government organisations to use the Tribunal as their administrative tribunal, and WHO, UNESCO, ITU, WMO,

____________________
1
See Bastid, "Tribunaux administratifs internationaux et leur jurisprudence", ( 1957) II R.C. 354-370.
2
"Institut d'agriculture c. Profili", Cour de Cassation, ( 1929-30)A.D., Case No.254.

-258-

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