X v Secretary-General of the OEEC (Decision No 32)

JurisdictionEuropean Union
CourtAppeals Board (Organization for European Economic Cooperation)
Date05 July 1960
Appeals Board of the Organization for European Economic Co-operation.
Decision No. 32.

International organization — Officials —“Head of household” allowance and child's allowance — Quasi-contract — Money paid by mistake — Withdrawal of administrative decisions — Estoppel — Tortious liability.

The Facts.—On March 2, 1960, Mr. X. was ordered to refund the amount of the “head of household” allowance which had been paid to him by mistake from April 1, 1953, to June 25, 1959. On April 29, 1960, he lodged an appeal against this decision, in so far as it covered the period from April 1, 1953, to October 24, 1957. He also claimed a child's allowance for the period from January 1, 1951, to October 24, 1957.

Held: that the appeal must be rejected. Mr. X. was not entitled to a head of household allowance, nor to a child's allowance. The Administration was not estopped from withdrawing an administrative decision which had wrongly recognized Mr. X.'s entitlement to the head of household allowance. The Administration was therefore entitled to reclaim the money paid by mistake, subject to a set-off representing the damage caused to the claimant by the Administration's negligence.

The Board said: “Mr. X. has duly deposited the security provided for by Staff Rule 66 (d).

“After taking time for deliberation, the Board pronounces the following decision.

“I.—Mr. X., who entered the Organization's employment in 1948, instituted divorce proceedings in 1949 and was granted a divorce with effect from April 1, 1953. However, he continued to receive the head of household allowance, to which married officials are entitled, under Staff Rules 20 (a) (i) and 20 (b) (i). By a letter dated March 2, 1960, the Director of Administration informed Mr. X. that the Secretary-General had ordered the repayment of the sums which in his opinion had been improperly received ‘from April 1, 1953, to June 25, 1959, amounting to 8,694.15 NF.’.

“Mr. X. challenged the obligation thereby imposed on him. He submits in addition that he had provided a home for a child from January 1, 1951, onwards, and that he was thereby entitled to the fixed monthly allowance provided for in Staff Rule 20 (a) (ii). However, he limits his claim for the head of household and dependent child's allowances to the period expiring on October 24, 1957, the date when the child for whom he had provided a home reached his majority. Thus the claimant does not deny that he is indebted to the Organization for the amount of the head of...

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