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The Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDBG) – an International Financial Institution founded in 1973 and based in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – established an International Administrative Tribunal (similar in nature to the Administrative Tribunals of the World Bank and IMF) that started operating in 2022 to hear disputes between the IsDBG and its staff members. Alex and Victoria acted for the successful Applicant in the first ever substantive hearing before the Tribunal, held in person in December 2022. Their win follows a remote interim hearing in another matter earlier in 2022, in which Alex and Courtney Step-Marsden successfully appeared for the applicants, demonstrating OTC’s pre-eminence in the area of international administrative law.
The Tribunal heard the case en banc with judges from Tunisia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Malaysia (IsDBG member states). Unusually for international judicial bodies of international organisations, Sharia applies (as well as the institutional texts of the organisation and international administrative law).
The IsDBG – of which there are 57 member states – includes the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Islamic Research & Training Institute, Islamic Corporation for Development of the Private Sector, Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Investment and Export Credit, and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation.
The Applicant claimed that the termination of his fixed-term contract was unlawful in that it failed to follow any due process and amounted to an abuse of authority. Further, that a contractor at the IsDB had harassed the Applicant and discriminated against him. The IsDB claimed that sufficient reason had been given: the Applicant had been told that the contract was terminated due to his “non-cooperative attitude” which adversely affected the work and performance of his department.
By judgment handed down on 27 December 2022, the Tribunal found that (i) it had jurisdiction to hear the case and (ii) the termination of the Applicant’s contract was an abuse of authority, as it was not based on due process and no valid reason was given. The Tribunal emphasised that the misconduct alleged by the IsDB, leading to termination of a staff member’s appointment, must be based on the completion of disciplinary procedures. Given that no evidence had been provided to suggest that any disciplinary procedures were ever initiated, the Tribunal found that the IsDB had failed to comply with the relevant provisions of the IsDBG’s Staff Regulations.
For almost half a century, the IsDBG operated without an Administrative Tribunal. It has now cured that lacuna, having established one of the world’s newest and most impressive International Administrative Tribunal composed of highly experienced judges. This judgment – which will be published in due course – is the first in what will become a valuable pool of international administrative law jurisprudence that other International Administrative Tribunals and international lawyers can take inspiration from.
Victoria Brown is a civil and chancery practitioner with a particular focus on pensions and employment. Victoria also has significant international experience, and has appeared before the World Bank Administrative Tribunal and the Organisation of American States Administrative Tribunal. She has run cases in the Islamic Development Bank AT, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development AT, and International Labour Organisation AT. Victoria was appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of Civil Counsel in October 2020 and is recognised by both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500.
Alex Haines is called to both the English and Irish Bars and is a US-qualified attorney admitted to the NY Bar. He is a dual national, fluent in French and Spanish, specialist in international law and sanctions with rare expertise in international organisations law. He was appointed to the Attorney General’s London B Panel in 2019 and as Sanctions Officer at the Caribbean Development Bank in 2020. The cases he has been instructed in have involved more than 35 International Organisations including the EIB, World Bank Group, IMF, NATO and UN (including its specialised agencies and funds). He is ranked in Chambers and Partners for Sanctions and Legal 500 for Business and Regulatory Crime (including global investigations).
News 18 Jan, 2023