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Legal Questions

The FICSA Standing Committee on Legal Questions advises the Executive Committee on:

Legal strategy: including the identification of cases which can be brought to an administrative tribunal for the common benefit of staff, either to advance their rights or to protect their conditions of service

Legal insurance: exchanging information on available insurance coverage for international civil servants

Whistle-blower policies: identifying best practice and protections for whistle-blowers

Interpretation of Staff Regulations and Rules: assisting members in understanding the staff rules and providing opinions on whether they have been applied correctly

Use of the FICSA Legal Defence Fund: advising on which legal appeals should be supported by the Fund

Grievance procedures: identifying best practice and sharing information on internal grievance procedures

Administration of justice: monitoring the work and reform of the Administrative Tribunals

Roster of Legal Advisors: compiling a list of the best legal experts to assist in appeals

Administrative Tribunal case law: reviewing and providing information on the judgments of the Administrative Tribunals

Staff rights: identifying staff rights and the best strategies to protect and advance them

Training: providing training in the appeals process

Membership issues: defining the parameters of membership categories

Constitutional questions: interpreting the provisions of the FICSA Statutes and Rules

Main issues raised at the 70th FICSA Council (13 to 17 February 2017)

Internal justice reform and access to justice for international civil servants: An overview of the appeal system was presented including internal appeal procedural and access to second instance tribunals, UNAT and ILOAT.   Continuing undue delays at the ILOAT was reported. Participants were reminded of the possibility of individual staff associations, unions or federations to submit “amicus curiae” in support of particular cases.

Periodicity in steps: Discussion focused on the changes to the step increases. Previously, there was an accelerated step increase linked to language proficiency; this has been discontinued. Whereas the previous salary scale provided for annual step increase based on performance, under the new system periodicity became biannual after step 7.

Legal defence cases: Information was shared on two cases supported by FICSA, one dealing with unjustified post abolition/termination and lack of access to second tier tribunal jurisdiction and the other on relocation of offices and relevant entitlements.

Implication to Geneva-based staff on acquisition of Swiss nationality: A preliminary legal opinion on the issue was presented specifically addressing acquired rights and possible consequences to existing entitlements, such as home leave, should one acquire Swiss nationality.