Legal Advice 2017-05-22T10:30:54+00:00

LEGAL ADVICE

Opinions, consultations, complaints and appeals !
I do not agree with a decision by the appointing authority …
I have a problem at work …
I need advice concerning a problem in my private life …

What can I do? How can Union Syndicale help me ?

Whether you are a member or not, the first thing to do is to contact the Union Syndicale secretariat in your institution or get in touch with one of the members of the Executive Committee.

A member of our team will be instructed to carry out an initial assessment of your case and give you initial advice. If appropriate, he/she will refer you to one of our lawyers.

 

How much will it cost me ?

All Union Syndicale members can consult one of our lawyers free of charge, as long as they have been a member for at least one year – or joined during the year in which they were recruited, even if they have not yet been a member for a full year. For other members the cost of the consultation is EUR 30.

Non-members may also consult our lawyers for a fee of EUR 100.

N.B. : For questions relating to private life, the Union Syndicale’s assistance is limited to initial advice or guidance given by a lawyer. Union Syndicale does not cover the continuation of the procedure or any consultations or actions after the first consultation and you must therefore ask the lawyer you have consulted for details of his fees.

 

I want to submit a request or complaint.

With the agreement of our specialist or after consulting the lawyer to whom he/she referred you, you may consider that you should go further and submit a request or complaint (Article 90 of the Staff Regulations of Officials and Articles 46, 73, 117 and 124 of the conditions of employment of other servants).

If you are a member, we can also assist you at this stage, either by helping you to draft your request or complaint or having it drafted by one of our lawyers.

If you would like to be assisted by one of our lawyers, you must send a written request for assistance (for example by email) to the Union Syndicale secretariat in your institution or to the secretariat of Union Syndicale Brussels. The Union Syndicale delegation in your institution or, in certain cases, the Executive Committee will examine your request and decide whether to support it or not, depending on the opinions of our specialist and the lawyer. Since you have to comply with a strict time-limit (three months) for submitting a complaint, it is important to make your request for assistance as soon as possible and in any case at least a month before the time-limit expires, to enable us to take a decision in good time.

 

How much will it cost me ?

If Union Syndicale has agreed to have the request or complaint drafted by one of our lawyers, you will not have to pay anything if you had been a member for at least six months at the time of the act adversely affecting you or if you joined during the year in which you were recruited.

Other members (new members) will be asked to cover 50% of the costs of drafting the request or complaint.

If a non-member calls on the services of one of our lawyers to draft a request or complaint, we obviously do not cover any of the costs.

 

Follow-up to my request (art.90§1)

If you submitted a request under Article 90(1) of the Staff Regulations with assistance from Union Syndicale, you must contact us and forward the reply as soon as you receive it (whether it is positive or negative).

If the request is rejected you may submit a complaint, whether you submitted the request with assistance from Union Syndicale or not. For full details, see the previous point : “I want to submit a request or complaint”.

 

Follow-up to my complaint (art.90§2)

If you submitted a complaint under Article 90(2) of the Staff Regulations with assistance from Union Syndicale, you must contact us and forward the reply as soon as you receive it (whether it is positive or negative). If the complaint is rejected you must make an appointment with the lawyer as soon as possible to consider what action to take as a result of the reply, i.e. a possible appeal.

I want to file an appeal.

If the complaint is rejected you may file an appeal with the European Union Civil Service Tribunal, whether you submitted the complaint with assistance from Union Syndicale or not. You may ask Union Syndicale for assistance to do so but you must have contacted us, consulted one of our lawyers and, in accordance with his recommendations, sent a written request for assistance (for example by email) to the Union Syndicale secretariat in your institution or to the secretariat of Union Syndicale Brussels.

The Executive Committee will examine your request and decide whether to support it or not in accordance with the opinions of the specialist and the lawyer, depending on the special or general interest of the case and the likelihood of success.

 

How much will it cost me ?

If you obtained Union Syndicale’s agreement to the filing of an appeal, costs will be divided between the member and Union Syndicale in accordance with the following table :

I. General or trade union interest : appeal filed by the member at Union Syndicale’s request All costs borne by Union Syndicale
II.A Shared interest (member for at least six months at the time of the act adversely affecting you) Union Syndicale fully covers the first EUR 1.500 of costs. This amount is raised to EUR 2.000 if you had been a member for over six years, and to EUR 2.500 if you had been a member for over twelve years, at the time of the act adversely affecting you. The remaining costs are borne by Union Syndicale apart from the following member’s contribution :
Shared interest but mainly general and/or trade union interest 25% of the basic salary
Shared interest 75% of the basic salary
Shared interest but mainly personal 125% of the basic salary
II.B Shared interest (member for less than six months at the time of the act adversely affecting you) No contribution by Union Syndicale
III Personal interest (exclusively or almost exclusively or contrary to trade union interests) No contribution by Union Syndicale

Notes :

The basic salary to be taken into consideration is the member’s full-time basic salary when the Executive Committee’s decision was taken, without taking account of any subsequent changes (promotion, salary adjustment, etc.).

The general/trade union/personal interest is judged by the Executive Committee of Union Syndicale Brussels.

Union Syndicale makes no contribution when an appeal is very unlikely to succeed, in our lawyers’ opinion.

In the case of joint appeals, the total costs are divided among all the applicants and Union Syndicale’s contribution is calculated for each of them individually.

Costs for which payment is ordered and any penalty for frivolous action form part of the costs of defence and shall be borne as set out above.

If the defendant is ordered to pay the costs, the costs paid shall in principle be retained by the member up to the amount of the member’s contribution laid down in the above table and shall revert to Union Syndicale in excess of that amount. Other arrangements may however be laid down in a written agreement concluded between the lawyers, the member and Union Syndicale prior to the filing of the appeal.

I have won my appeal.

What happens ?

If the upholding of your appeal enables you to receive back-payments, you should reimburse Union Syndicale for the actual costs of your legal assistance, up to a ceiling equivalent to 50% of the back‑payments received.

This arrangement enables us to extend our support to a larger number of members and therefore to make more effective use of our financial resources derived from members’ subscriptions.

 

I have won my appeal but the institution has filed a further appeal.

If the institution against which you have successfully appealed decides to file a further appeal, we cover the costs of the further appeal proceedings on the same conditions as for your appeal (except for the likelihood of success, which is automatically considered to be strong since your appeal was successful). The costs of the two proceedings are combined to determine Union Syndicale’s contribution and the amount that you must pay.

 

I have lost my appeal; can I file a further appeal ?

Union Syndicale makes a financial contribution to proceedings on a further appeal only if expressly recommended by our lawyers on grounds of general interest. In such a case, the procedure and conditions governing such a contribution are the same as for lodging a new appeal.

 

I do not work in Brussels.

How can I consult a lawyer ?

If you do not work in Brussels and you are unable to attend a consultation organised by Union Syndicale, contact the Union Syndicale secretariat in your institution (by email or telephone) or get in touch with a member of the Executive Committee.

We will propose a solution (such as consulting a lawyer by email or telephone) depending on your situation and your problem.

 

A complaint has been made against me by the appointing authority, OLAF or a colleague.

A Union Syndicale delegate can help you to decide how to react to the complaint. If appropriate, he/she can accompany you at the interviews to which you are summoned. If necessary, we can also ask one of our lawyers to accompany you.

Given the diversity of the situations that may arise, the financial arrangements for assistance by Union Syndicale are adopted by the Executive Committee on a case-by-case basis. As a general rule, the conditions will be the same as those for requests or complaints.

It is therefore essential that you rapidly contact the Union Syndicale secretariat in your institution and submit a written request for assistance (for example by email).

 

I would like to ask my institution for assistance (Article 24 of the Staff Regulations).

A Union Syndicale delegate can help you to decide how to react to the complaint. If appropriate, he/she can accompany you at the interviews to which you are summoned. If necessary, we can also ask one of our lawyers to accompany you.

Given the diversity of the situations that may arise, the financial arrangements for assistance by Union Syndicale are adopted by the Executive Committee on a case-by-case basis. As a general rule, the conditions will be the same as those for requests or complaints.

It is therefore essential that you rapidly contact the Union Syndicale secretariat in your institution and submit a written request for assistance (for example by email).

 

I am/have been obliged to submit a request, complaint or appeal as a matter of urgency.

Is it possible to obtain assistance from Union Syndicale?

As a general rule, it is not possible to obtain assistance from Union Syndicale if the rules we laid down have not been followed. Exceptionally, in emergencies, the lawyer may start proceedings, with your agreement and that of the members of our team dealing with your case, without waiting for the Executive Committee’s decision, in particular to comply with the deadline. In that case, you are responsible for paying the lawyer for the entire cost of the proceedings but you may ask us to bear the costs incurred, setting out clearly the reasons why it was not possible to request the Executive Committee’s agreement beforehand. In any case, the Executive Committee will strictly limit any retrospective defrayal of costs to duly substantiated exceptional cases.

 

I want to choose a lawyer myself.

Is it possible to obtain assistance from Union Syndicale ?

We only give our members legal assistance through lawyers with whom we have agreements. If you want to use another lawyer, you must bear the costs yourself. The Executive Committee may derogate from this rule only in duly substantiated exceptional cases.

 

I want to abandon a complaint or appeal.

During the proceedings, it may of course prove desirable to abandon an appeal. This is a decision that you must take in agreement with the lawyer and Union Syndicale. However, if you decide on your own initiative to abandon a complaint or appeal, we will ask you to reimburse all the costs we have incurred in the course of the proceedings.

 

I am not/no longer a Union Syndicale member.

If you are not a Union Syndicale member, you can pay for a legal consultation arranged by us (see above). However, Union Syndicale will not cover any costs for non-members (requests, complaints, appeals, etc.).

If you receive financial assistance in a legal matter as a Union Syndicale member, you undertake to remain a Union Syndicale member (which rules out membership of any other European civil service trade union) at least for the entire duration of the proceedings (request, complaint, appeal or further appeal). By accepting our support, you undertake to reimburse all the costs incurred by Union Syndicale in the procedure concerned if you decide to leave Union Syndicale and/or to join another trade union.

For more information please contact our secretariat.

 

*Updated following the Executive Committee meeting on 27 octobre 2011