United Nations Appeals Tribunal

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The United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT), which replaces the former United Nations Administrative Tribunal, is an appellate court, of the two-tier formal system of administration of justice in the UN.[1] It was established by the UN General Assembly in December 2008 to review appeals against judgments rendered by the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT).[2] UNAT, including its registry, is based in New York, and holds sessions in New York City, Geneva and Nairobi, as required by caseload. It held its first session in Geneva in 2010.[1]:para(S) 39–45[3] The UNAT is a component of the UN's Internal Justice System, and is listed as an office, along with UNDT and the Office of the United Nations Ombudsman, under the UN secretariat. The UNAT like the UNDT, is dependent for its administrative, office, staffing, and travel needs including that of the judges on the UN secretariat.[4]

Receivablity and affect of filing Appeal[edit]

The filing of an appeals has the effect of suspending the execution of the judgement or the contested order. For an appeal to be receivable by the Appeals Tribunal it should be: (a) pursuant to article 2 of the statute; and (b) filed within 60 calendar days of the receipt of UNDT Judgement.[3]:article 11


The UNAT is competent to hear and pass judgement on an appeal filed against a judgement by the United Nations Dispute Tribunal when (a) UNDT Exceeded its jurisdiction or competence;(b) Failed to exercise jurisdiction vested in it; (c) Erred on a question of law;(d) Committed an error in procedure, such as to affect the decision of the case; or (e) Erred on a question of fact, resulting in a manifestly unreasonable decision.[3]:Article 2, Section 1 The Tribunal may "affirm, reverse, modify or remand the judgement of the Dispute Tribunal".[3]:Article 2, Section 3 The judgments of UNAT are final and binding on the parties.

Powers of AT[edit]

The Appeals Tribunal may order one or both of the following:(a) Rescission of the contested administrative decision or.... set an amount of compensation that the respondent may elect to pay as an alternative to the rescission of the contested administrative decision(b) Compensation for harm, ... which shall normally not exceed the equivalent of two years’ net base salary of the applicant. In exceptional cases it may order the payment of a higher compensation for harm".[3]:article 9

Revision of AT Judgment[edit]

Either party may apply to the Appeals Tribunal "for a revision of a judgement on the basis of the discovery of a decisive fact which was, at the time the judgement was rendered, unknown to the Appeals Tribunal and to the party applying for revision." The application for revision is to be submitted within "30 calendar days of the discovery of the fact and within one year of the date of the judgement." In addition either party may apply "for an interpretation of the meaning or scope of the judgement."[3]:Article 11, section1[5] :article 24

Submission of Appeal[edit]

Appeals are required to be submitted to the Registrar electronically or otherwise on a prescribed form, accompanied by:(a) A brief that explains the legal basis of any of the five grounds for appeal set out in article 2.1 of the statute relied upon.[3]:article 2.1[5]:article 8 section 1–2 The registrar after ensuring that the appeal complies with the laid down procedures transmit the appeal to the respondent. If the formal requirements of the article are not fulfilled, the Registrar may require the appellant to conform the appeal to the requirements of the article.[5]:article 8 The form for the appeal is available on the UN AT website.[6]

Answers, cross-appeals and answers to cross-appeals[edit]

The respondent’s answer is required to submit within 60 days of the date on which the respondent received the appeal transmitted by the Registrar, on a prescribed form, along with a brief, not exceed 15 pages, setting out legal arguments in support of the answer, along with signed original answer form and the annexes. The Registrar shall transmit a copy of the answer to the appellant.

The party answering may file a cross-appeal, the appeal within 60 days of notification of the appeal, accompanied by a brief which shall not exceed 15 pages, with the Appeals Tribunal stating the relief sought and the grounds of the cross- appeal.[5] :Article 9

Issuance and publication of judgements[edit]

Judgements are given by panels of three judges are adopted by majority vote, and contain the reasons, facts and law on which they are based. The Registrar is responsible for publication of the judgements of the Appeals Tribunal on the website of the Appeal s Tribunal after they are delivered.[5] :Article 19–20

Format and content of documents[edit]

The UNAT tribunal has laid down that all documents are to be filed on US letter or A4 paper, should conform standard forms issued by the Appeals Tribunal, be page numbered, adhere to page limit and word count with typeface at 12 point with 1.5 line spacing, and 10 point for footnotes with single line spacing. The maximum permissible word count for each brief, including headings, footnotes and quotations, are 6,750 words for a 15-page brief, 2,250 words for a five-page brief, and 900 words for a two-page brief. Each annex to a filed document must have page numbering.[7]:Para I B

Judges of UNAT[edit]

UNAT which became operational on 1 July 2009 is composed of seven judges. The UNAT Judges are appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Internal Justice Council in accordance with General Assembly resolution 62/228.[1]:para 44 No two judges are of the same nationality, and due regard is given "to geographical distribution and gender balance". The Judges normally review appeals in three-member panels. Article 3.

The seven judges elected by the General Assembly On 3 March 2009 were:[8]

  1. Ms. Sophia Adinyira (Ghana), seven-year term
  2. Ms. Rose Boyko (Canada),seven-year term
  3. Ms. Inés Mónica Weinberg de Roca (Argentina),seven-year term
  4. Mr. Luis Maria Simón (Uruguay), seven-year term
  5. Mr. Jean Courtial (France),three-year term
  6. Mr. Kamaljit Singh Garewal (India),three-year term
  7. Mr. Mark Painter (United States),three-year term


The United Nations Appeals Tribunal Registry is located New York. It is headed by a Registrar, a P 5 level UN paid lawyer. The Registrar is assisted by one P 3 Legal Officer and two General Service Administrative Assistants. In addition the registry is supported by Legal Research and Information Technology Officers, and staff. The UNAT Registry provides technical and administrative support to the UNAT judges including by 'enforcing parties' compliance with the UNAT rules of procedure'.[1]:para 44[9]:para 44

UNAT Activity 2013: Outcome of appeals by UN Staff members[edit]

Statistically UN staff member have a low chances of getting favorable outcome from appeals to the UNAT. In 2013 out of 115 judgments by UNAT 99 were against appeals on UNDT judgements. Out of the 99 appeals, 61 were filed by staff members, of which an overwhelming, 72 percent (44) were rejected. In contrast out of the 38 appeals filed by the UN Secretary General against staff members, 31 or 82 percent were granted in full or in part.[10] :para(s) 38–39


In 2013, 52 staff member chose to be self-represented either because they did not have faith in Office of Staff Legal Assistance (OSLA) or OSLA was not forthcoming in assisting them through the appeal process. Only 32 staff members were extended OSLA assistance in the UNAT appeal process.[10] :para 55

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d :para(S) 39–45UN GA (6 February 2008). "62/228. Administration of justice at the United Nations" (PDF). General Assembly. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "About UNAT". Office of administration of Justice United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT). Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g UN General Assembly (2008). "STATUTE OF THE UNITED NATIONS APPEALS TRIBUNAL" (PDF). UN. Retrieved 1 April 2015. As adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 63/253 on 24 December 2008 and amended by resolution 66/237 adopted on 24 December 2011 and resolution 69/203 adopted on 18 December 2014 
  4. ^ "UN Secretariat". United Nations. United Nations. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE UNITED NATION S APPEALS TRIBUNAL" (PDF). UNAT Basic Documents. UNAT. April 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015. (As adopted by the General Assembly in Resolution 64/119 on 16 December 2009 and amended by the General Assembly in Resolution 66/107 on 9 December 2011, Resolution 66/237 on 24 December 2011 and Resolution 67/241 on 24 December 2012) 
  6. ^ "How To File An Appeal". UNAT. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "PRACTICE DIRECTION 1 ON FILING OF DOCUMENTS AND CASE MANAGEMENT" (PDF). UNAT. Retrieved 1 April 2015. The Appeals Tribunal issues this Practice Direction No. 1 under Article 31(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the Appeals Tribunal (Rules). This Practice Di rection must be read together with the Statute of the Appeals Tribunal (Statute) and the Rules. 
  8. ^ https://www.un.org/en/oaj/appeals/
  9. ^ https://www.un.org/en/oaj/appeals/registry.shtml
  10. ^ a b "Seventh activity report Office of Administration of Justice 1 January to 31 December 2013" (PDF). Office of Administration of Justice. 2014. pp. 12–17. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 

External links[edit]