APPEALS AND ANSWERS

WHO CAN FILE AN APPEAL

Photo of UN Appeals Tribunal sign outside the offices of their Registry in New York.
The sign outside the offices of the UN Appeals Tribunal Registry in New York.

An individual, agency, entity or organization filing an appeal before the UN Appeals Tribunal (UNAT) is considered the “Appellant.” Appeals may be filed by:

  • Either party before the UNDT (applicant or respondent) appealing a judgment or interlocutory order rendered by the UNDT;
  • Either party before the UNRWA DT (applicant or respondent) appealing a judgment or interlocutory order rendered by the UNRWA DT;
  • A UNJSPF participant, beneficiary or a person making claims on behalf of a deceased or incapacitated participant or beneficiary may appeal a decision of the Standing Committee acting on behalf of the UNJSPB;
  • A current or former staff member or a person making claims on behalf of a deceased or incapacitated staff member who is contesting an administrative decision made by the head of an agency, entity or organization that has accepted jurisdiction of UNAT, which include:
    • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);
    • International Court of Justice (ICJ);
    • International Maritime Organization (IMO);
    • International Seabed Authority (ISA);
    • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS); and
    • World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

WHAT CAN BE APPEALED

UNAT may hear appeals against:

  • Judgments and interlocutory orders* of the UNDT;
  • Judgments and interlocutory orders* of the UNRWA DT;
  • Decisions taken by the Standing Committee acting on behalf of the UNJSPB; and
  • Decisions taken by the heads of those agencies, entities or organizations that have accepted jurisdiction of UNAT. These presently include:
    • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO);
    • International Court of Justice (ICJ);
    • International Maritime Organization (IMO);
    • International Seabed Authority (ISA);
    • International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS); and
    • World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

* Interlocutory orders: Interlocutory orders are orders which are rendered during an intermediate stage of the proceedings before the UNDT or UNRWA DT, after the commencement of the case but prior to the rendering of a case’s final judgment. While generally only final judgments may be appealed, UNAT has allowed appeals against certain interlocutory orders.

CONTENT— GROUNDS FOR AN APPEAL:

An appeal before UNAT is NOT a de novo (renewed) review of the merits of the case. UNAT’s jurisdiction is limited. UNAT only considers whether there is a discernible error in the judgment, decision or order under appeal.

UNDT AND UNRWA DT:

The content of an appeal must be strictly based on one or more “appealable grounds” which are set forth in Article 2(1) of the UNAT Statute. Appeals must therefore assert that in rendering its judgment or order, the UNDT or UNRWA DT has:

  • Exceeded its jurisdiction or competence;
  • Failed to exercise jurisdiction vested in it;
  • Erred on a question of law;
  • Committed an error in procedure, such as to affect the decision of the case; or
  • Erred on a question of fact, resulting in a manifestly unreasonable decision.

UNJSPB:

An appeal of a decision of the Standing Committee of the UNJSPB must contain pleas and an explanatory statement as to why the contested decision did not observe the regulations of the Pension Fund.

AGENCIES, ENTITIES AND ORGANIZATIONS ACCEPTING UNAT’S JURISDICTION:

An appeal of a decision of the head of an agency, entity or organization which has accepted UNAT’s jurisdiction must contain pleas and an explanatory statement as to why the administrative decision taken is in non-compliance with the terms of appointment or the contract of employment.

FRIVOLOUS APPEAL – COSTS

Pursuant to Article 9(2) of the UNAT Statute, where UNAT determines that a party has manifestly abused the appeals process, UNAT may award costs against that party.

CROSS-APPEAL FILINGS

CROSS-APPEAL

When an appeal has been filed by one of the parties before UNAT within the 60-day time limit to appeal, the party answering the appeal (respondent) may file a cross-appeal on the same claims within 60 calendar days of notification of the appeal. The cross-appeal must be accompanied by a brief stating the relief sought and the grounds of the cross-appeal. The cross-appeal may not add new claims. The appeal and cross-appeal are disposed of in the same judgment.

A cross-appeal is different from a situation where both parties appeal the same judgment within the same 60-day time limit.

ANSWER TO CROSS-APPEAL

In accordance with Article 9(6) of UNAT’s Rules, an answer to a cross-appeal must be filed within 60 days of receipt of the cross-appeal.

ANSWERING THE APPEAL

If the staff member files the appeal, the staff member becomes the Appellant and the agency, entity or organization becomes the Respondent and may answer the appeal. If the agency, entity or organization files the appeal, the staff member becomes the Respondent and may answer the appeal.