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Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 141/2002/JMA against the European Court of Justice

Strasbourg, 30 August 2002

Dear Mr L.,

On 18 January 2002, you lodged a complaint with the European Ombudsman against the European Court of Justice, concerning the failure of this institution to reimburse you for travel expenses related to your application for the post of Director of Translation (CJ 01/01) at the Court.

On 18 February 2002, I forwarded your complaint to the President of the European Court of Justice with a request for comments by 31 May 2002. In the absence of a reply from the Court by that date, I sent a reminder to the institution on 18 June 2002, requesting its opinion by 15 July 2002. I informed you of this situation by letter of 18 June 2002. Your acknowledgement of receipt of my letter dated 2 July 2002, included also some additional information. On 5 July 2002, the European Court of Justice sent its opinion, which I forwarded to you on 23 July 2002, with an invitation to make observations. You sent me your observations on the Court's opinion on 26 July and 5 August 2002.

I am now writing to let you know the results of the inquiries that have been made.


According to the complaint, the facts of the case are as follows:

The complainant had applied to the post of Director of Translation with the Court in April 2001. Subsequently, he was invited for an interview on 30 May 2001. An official from the Court administration informed the complainant by telephone that all his travel expenses from Lithuania, where he worked at the Delegation of the European Commission, would be covered by the Court. Having completed his travel to Luxembourg at the end of May 2001, the complainant submitted a request for reimbursement of expenses to the Court for an amount of € 1,938.05.

On 27 August 2001, the complainant's wife contacted the administrative services of the Court, where she was told that the Director of the Personnel Department would be back from holidays at the beginning of September, and would then sign the payment authorisation.

In the absence of a reply, the complainant sent several faxes and emails to the Court requesting payment in October 2001. The Court acknowledged by email dated 8 November 2001 that a payment had been made. Soon after the complainant received a transfer in his bank account for an amount of € 512.59.

Since, the Court's transfer did not cover all the complainant's travel expenses, and there was an outstanding amount of € 1,425.46, he requested full payment by letter of 19 December 2001. This remainder was not replied to by the Court.

In summary, the complainant alleged that the Court was not responding to his numerous enquiries, and claimed full reimbursement for the travel expenses related to his application for a job vacancy at the Court.


The European Court of Justice's opinion

In its opinion of 5 July 2002, the Court explained that the complainant had submitted a claim for reimbursement for an amount of € 1,938.05 which exceeded the maximum permitted under the Court's Rules on the reimbursement of travel expenses incurred by candidates. The Court pointed out that a copy of the rules is, in principle, sent to all candidates who are invited for interviews. On the basis of the Rules, the Court paid the maximum amount allowed, namely € 516. 09.

Having re-examined the file, the Court's Administration discovered that a copy the Rules might not have been sent to the complainant and sought an opinion from its Legal Adviser in administrative manners as to whether it was possible in this case to pay the outstanding amount.

On the advice of its Legal Adviser, the Court decided to transfer the outstanding sum to the complainant. The transfer was made on 3 July 2002. The Court also indicated that its Director of Personnel and Finance had written to the complainant informing him of this decision and expressing his apologies.

The complainant's observations

In his observations dated 26 July and 5 August 2002, the complainant confirmed that the European Court of Justice had paid the outstanding amount. He expressed his gratitude to the Ombudsman for having brought the complaint to a successful conclusion, and added that hat it not been for the efforts carried out by the Ombudsman, his rights could not having been realised.


On the basis of the information provided by the complainant and the observations submitted by the European Court of Justice, the Ombudsman concludes that the case has been settled by the European Court of Justice to the complainant' satisfaction.

Against this background, the European Ombudsman decides therefore to close the case.

The President of the European Court of Justice will also be informed of this decision.

Yours sincerely,