Language of document : ECLI:EU:F:2011:7

(First Chamber)

4 February 2011

Case F‑34/10

Oscar Orlando Arango Jaramillo and Others


European Investment Bank (EIB)

(Civil service — Staff of the European Investment Bank — Reform of the pension scheme — Action out of time — Inadmissibility)

Application: brought under Article 41 of the Staff Regulations of the European Investment Bank, in which Mr Arango Jaramillo and 34 other members of staff of the European Investment Bank (EIB) seek annulment of their salary slips for February 2010 in so far as they reveal the EIB’s decisions to increase their contributions to the pension scheme, as well as an order against the EIB to pay them damages.

Held: The application is dismissed. The applicants are to bear all the costs.


1.      Officials — Staff of the European Investment Bank — Actions — Time-limits — Duty to act within a reasonable time

(Staff Regulations, Art. 91)

2.      Procedure — Time-limit for instituting proceedings — Claim barred by lapse of time — Unforeseeable circumstances or force majeure — Notion

(Statute of the Court of Justice, Art. 45, second para.)

1.      In the absence of any indication in the FEU Treaty or in the Staff Regulations of the European Investment Bank of the time-limit for bringing an action in disputes between the Bank and its staff, the Union judicature, having weighed the entitlement of those subject to its jurisdiction to effective protection by the courts, on the one hand, against the need for legal certainty, on the other, has consistently held that disputes between the Bank and its staff must be brought before the courts within a reasonable period, and considers, on the basis of the conditions on time-limits for bringing actions laid down by Article 91 of the Staff Regulations of Officials, that a period of three months should, as a rule, be regarded as reasonable.

The strict application of rules on time-limits to actions brought by staff of the European Investment Bank does not, in itself, affect the right to an effective remedy, since such rules are designed to ensure compliance, in particular, with the principle of legal certainty and to avoid all discrimination or arbitrary treatment in the administration of justice.

(see paras 14, 20)


17 May 2002, C‑406/01 Germany v Parliament and Council, para. 20

23 February 2001, T‑7/98, T‑208/98 and T‑109/99 De Nicola v EIB, paras 97 to 99, 100, 101, 107 and 119, and the case‑law cited therein

2.      The concepts of ‘force majeure’ and ‘unforeseeable circumstances’ contain both an objective element relating to abnormal circumstances unconnected with the person intending to rely on them and a subjective element involving the obligation, on that person’s part, to guard against the consequences of the abnormal event by taking appropriate steps without making unreasonable sacrifices. In particular, the person concerned must pay close attention to the course of the procedure set in motion and, in particular, demonstrate diligence in order to comply with the prescribed time-limits.

Where an application is sent electronically on the last day before expiry of the time-limit for instituting proceedings, at 23.59, and reaches the email address of the Registry of the Civil Service Tribunal the following day, at 00.00, that is to say, less than two minutes later, such a period cannot be regarded as an abnormal event within the meaning of the case‑law on force majeure and unforeseeable circumstances, in view of the disturbances capable of affecting the transmission of electronic messages resulting, for example, from problems affecting the access providers of the sender or recipient of the messages.

(see paras 23, 24)


15 December 1994, C‑195/91 P Bayer v Commission, para. 32