ORDER OF THE CIVIL SERVICE TRIBUNAL
27 March 2007
Council of the European Union
(Officials – Pay – Installation allowance – National expert on secondment who has been appointed as an official – Recovery of sums not due – Manifest inadmissibility)
Application: brought under Articles 236 EC and 152 EA, in which Mr Manté, a former national expert on secondment who became an official of the European Communities, seeks, first, annulment of the decision of the appointing authority of 22 August 2005 refusing to grant him the installation allowance and ordering its recovery, taken together with the decisions of the same authority of 17 October 2005 rejecting his application for reconsideration of the abovementioned decision of 22 August 2005, and of 10 May 2006 rejecting his complaint, and secondly, compensation for the loss he considers he has suffered.
Held: The application is dismissed as manifestly inadmissible. The Council, in addition to bearing its own costs, is ordered to pay half those of Mr Manté.
Procedure – Decision given by reasoned order – Conditions – Action manifestly inadmissible or manifestly lacking any foundation in law
(Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance, Art. 111; Staff Regulations, Arts 90 and 91; Council Decision 2004/752, Art. 3(4))
Where an action is manifestly inadmissible, the possibility of giving a decision by reasoned order without taking further steps in the proceedings, provided for in Article 111 of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of First Instance, does not apply solely in cases where the failure to observe the rules on admissibility is so clear and flagrant that no reasonable argument can be relied on in favour of admissibility, but also in cases where, upon reading the file, the Court hearing the case, provided that it considers itself to be sufficiently informed by the documents before it, is entirely convinced of the inadmissibility of the application, in particular because that application fails to observe the requirements laid down by settled case-law, and it further considers that the holding of a hearing would be unlikely to provide any new information whatsoever in that respect. In such a case, the dismissal of the application by reasoned order not only benefits procedural economy, but also saves the parties the costs entailed by the holding of a hearing.
That is true where the applicant, disregarding the settled case-law according to which an official adversely affected by an act must use the complaints procedure provided for in Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations, simply submits a request for the re-examination of a measure which is manifestly an act adversely affecting him and, subsequently, a complaint against the administration’s response to that application, without observing the periods for lodging complaints and appeals laid down by Articles 90 and 91 of the Staff Regulations.
Furthermore, the indication, in the decision rejecting the request that the applicant had made concerning the act adversely affecting him, that a complaint could be lodged against that decision cannot, however, have the effect of allowing the case-law on excusable error to be applied in the applicant’s favour, since the condition for the application of that case-law, that there must be pardonable confusion in the mind of an official exercising all the diligence required of a properly informed person, is not met in the present case; it was of his own free will rather than because of misleading conduct on the part of the institution that the applicant decided to react against the act adversely affecting him by submitting a request; in such circumstances the applicant could rely on the case-law on excusable error only if, in doubt as to the validity of the procedure initiated by submitting the request, and preparing to lodge a complaint within the required period of three months from the act adversely affecting him, he had abandoned that course of action because the said indication had persuaded him that his initial approach was valid.
(see paras 15-16, 19-20, 23-26)
T-14/91 Weyrich v Commission  ECR II‑235, paras 32 and 34; T-11/01 Mascetti v Commission  ECR-SC I‑A‑117 and II‑579, para. 33
F-27/05 Le Maire v Commission  ECR-SC I‑A‑1‑47 and II‑A‑1‑159, para. 36