The right to be heard in European Union civil service law: by whom, when and on what? Answers from the recent case law of the General Court

Abstract

The entry into force of the Charter of Fundamental Rights has enriched the right to be heard of a new connotation, which is its tight link with the right to good administration. This is an important addition to the already known meaning and relevance of the right to be heard, which was that of being part of the rights of the defence. This new connotation of the right to be heard emerged in a series of cases before the General Court and concerning EU civil service law. In particular, prepared by the case law of the CST, and further fertilised by that of the Court of Justice, the case law of the General Court has granted to the right to be heard the status of an autonomous procedural requirement as regards a vast panoply of administrative procedures, provided for in the EU Staff Regulations and Conditions for the Employment of Other Staff.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Regulation 31 (EEC) and (Euratom) laying down the Staff Regulations of Officials and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, OJ 45, 14.06.1962, p. 1385 as further amended, lastly, by Regulation (EU, Euratom) 1023/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013, (OJ L 287, 29.10.2013, p. 15).

  2. 2.

    Joined Cases 35/62 and 16/63, Leroy v High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community, EU:C:1963:50.

  3. 3.

    Case 17/74, Transocean Marine Paint Association v Commission, EU:C:1974:106, para. 15.

  4. 4.

    Joined Cases C-129/13 and C-130/13, Kamino International Logistics BV aos v Staatssecretaris van Fianciën, EU:C:2014:2041.

  5. 5.

    For an extensive overview of the literature and case law on the right to be heard following the entry into force of the Charter see I. Rabinovici, at 151.

  6. 6.

    Joined Cases F-159/12 and F-161/12, CJ v ECDC, EU:F:2015:38.

  7. 7.

    Ibidem, paras. 123–131.

  8. 8.

    Case T-395/15 P, ECDC v CJ, EU:T:2016:598.

  9. 9.

    Ibidem, paras. 54–55.

  10. 10.

    Ibidem, para. 57.

  11. 11.

    Ibidem, paras. 58–61.

  12. 12.

    Ibidem, para. 62.

  13. 13.

    Ibidem.

  14. 14.

    Ibidem, para. 66.

  15. 15.

    Ibidem, para. 67.

  16. 16.

    Ibidem, paras. 72–82.

  17. 17.

    Ibidem, para. 57.

  18. 18.

    Ibidem, paras. 75–77.

  19. 19.

    Ibidem, para. 67.

  20. 20.

    Joined Cases T-307/12 and T-408/13, Mayaleh/Conseil, EU:T:2014:926, paras. 106–107 and 117–119.

  21. 21.

    Case T-370/15 P, CJ v ECDC, EU:T:2016:599.

  22. 22.

    I.e. the written submission an applicant can lodge after the application and following the defence of the other party.

  23. 23.

    Ibidem, paras. 54–62.

  24. 24.

    Case T-328/15 P, Alsteens / Commission, EU:T:2016:671.

  25. 25.

    Ibidem, paras. 35–52.

  26. 26.

    Judgment in Case C-197/09, RX-II, \(M\) v EMEA, EU:C:2009:804, para. 41.

  27. 27.

    Case T-584/16, HF v Parliament, EU:T:2017:282.

  28. 28.

    Ibidem para. 151.

  29. 29.

    Ibidem, paras. 152–153.

  30. 30.

    Ibidem, paras. 18–29 and 155.

  31. 31.

    Ibidem, para. 156.

  32. 32.

    Ibidem, paras. 159–161.

  33. 33.

    Ibidem, para. 151.

  34. 34.

    Following a well established case law, see Case T-368/12 P, Commission v Macchia, EU:T:2014:266 and Case T-444/13 P, European Medicines Agency (EMA) v \(\mathit{BU}\), EU:T:2014:865 as regards temporary agents; Case T-670/13 P, Commission v D’Agostino, EU:T:2015:877 (members of contract staff). See also G. Gattinara, at 184–185 (‘commentaire’ nb 29).

  35. 35.

    Case T-703/16 RENV, \(\mathit{CJ}\) v ECDC, EU:T:2017:892.

  36. 36.

    Ibidem, para. 48.

  37. 37.

    Ibidem, paras. 48–50.

  38. 38.

    Ibidem, para. 52.

  39. 39.

    Ibidem, para. 43.

  40. 40.

    Ibidem, para. 51.

  41. 41.

    Case T-592/16, \(\mathit{HQ}\) v OCVV [Office communautaire des variétés végétales], EU:T:2017:897.

  42. 42.

    Ibidem, paras. 82–86.

  43. 43.

    Ibidem, para. 73.

  44. 44.

    instruction du dossier’: ibidem, para. 85.

  45. 45.

    Case T-218/17, \(\mathit{HF}\) v European Parliament, EU:T:2018:393; the judgment was appealed in Case C-570/18 P, pending.

  46. 46.

    Ibidem, paras. 67–68.

  47. 47.

    Ibidem, paras. 69 and 72.

  48. 48.

    Ibidem, paras. 70–71 and 73–74.

  49. 49.

    Ibidem, paras. 79–81.

  50. 50.

    Ibidem, paras. 82–87.

  51. 51.

    Ibidem, paras. 88–90.

  52. 52.

    Ibidem, paras. 68, 73–74.

  53. 53.

    Ibidem, para. 70.

  54. 54.

    Case T-649/16, Bernaldo de Quirós v Commission, EU:T:2017:736.

  55. 55.

    Ibidem, paras. 71–72.

  56. 56.

    Ibidem, para. 73.

  57. 57.

    Ibidem, paras. 74, 75 (first sentence) and 76.

  58. 58.

    In this case, indeed, according to the case law, the principle of the right to be heard applies: Case C-59/06 P, Marcuccio v Commission, EU:C:2007:75, para. 56.

  59. 59.

    Case F-78/13, De Loecker v European External Action Service, EU:F:2014:246, para. 37.

  60. 60.

    Case T-742/15 P, \(\mathit{DD}\) v FRA, EU:T:2017:528.

  61. 61.

    Joined Cases F-106/13 and F-25/14, \(\mathit{DD}\) v FRA, EU:F:2015:118, paras. 27–28.

  62. 62.

    Ibidem, para. 80.

  63. 63.

    Case T-742/15 P, \(\mathit{DD}\) v FRA, quoted, paras. 69–77.

  64. 64.

    Case F-91/13, \(\mathit{DF}\) v Commission, EU:F:2014:228, upheld on appeal in Case T-782/14 P, \(\mathit{DF}\) v Commission, EU:T:2016:29.

  65. 65.

    Case F-128/12, \(\mathit{CR}\) v Parliament, EU:F:2014:38, para. 36.

  66. 66.

    Case F-91/13, \(\mathit{DF}\) v Commission, quoted, paras. 41–43.

  67. 67.

    Ibidem, paras. 45–46.

  68. 68.

    Ibidem, paras. 56–57.

  69. 69.

    Case T-611/16, Trautmann v EEAS, EU:T:2017:917, paras. 39–41.

  70. 70.

    Guidelines on the Application of Article 85 of the Staff Regulations’, adopted on 11 July 2018 and published in the Administrative Notices n 28–2018.

  71. 71.

    EEC Council Regulation no 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code, in OJ 1992 L 302 p. 1.

  72. 72.

    Joined Cases C-129/13 and C-130/13, quoted above, paras. 38–39.

  73. 73.

    Case T-370/15 P, \(\mathit{CJ}\) v ECDC, quoted, para. 23, quoting para. 108 of the contested judgment of the CST; Case T-395/15 P, ECDC v \(\mathit{CJ}\), quoted, para. 54; Case T-584/16, \(\mathit{HF}\), quoted, para. 153; Case T-703/16 RENV, \(\mathit{CJ}\), quoted, paras. 44 and 49; Case T-592/16, \(\mathit{HQ}\), quoted, para. 85; Case T-649/16, Bernaldo de Quirós, quoted, para. 70.

  74. 74.

    See in particular Case F-129/12, \(\mathit{CH}\) v Parliament, EU:F:2013:203, para. 37; on this see K. Bradley, at 570.

  75. 75.

    See for instance Case F-122/12, Arguelles Arias v Council, EU:F:2013:185, para. 91; Case F-41/12, Scheefer v Parliament, EU:F:2013:31, para. 66.

  76. 76.

    Case T-703/16 RENV, \(\mathit{CJ}\), quoted, para. 52 and the case law quoted therein.

  77. 77.

    Case T-395/15 P, ECDC, quoted, para. 67.

  78. 78.

    Case F-7/11, \(\mathit{AX}\) v European Central Bank, EU:F:2012:195, para. 90 and the case law quoted therein.

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Ph.D. (La Sapienza, Rome), LL Ms (King’s College, London and College of Europe, Bruges).

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Gattinara, G. The right to be heard in European Union civil service law: by whom, when and on what? Answers from the recent case law of the General Court. ERA Forum 19, 571–583 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12027-018-0543-2

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Keywords

  • Right to be heard
  • Right to good administration
  • Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • administrative proceedings
  • EU civil service law