Language of document : ECLI:EU:F:2011:12

(First Chamber)

15 February 2011

Case F‑76/09



European Commission

(Civil service — Social security — Articles 72 and 76a of the Staff Regulations — General implementing provisions — Dependence — Surviving spouse of a retired official — Refusal of the request for full payment of the cost of a carer and the grant of financial aid — Action out of time — Inadmissibility)

Application: brought under Articles 236 EC and 152 EA, in which AH seeks annulment of the decision of the Commission, in its capacity as appointing authority, of 22 June 2009 rejecting her application for the reimbursement of costs for home care.

Held: The action is dismissed as inadmissible. AH is to bear all the costs.


1.      Procedure — Application initiating proceedings — Formal requirements

(Statute of the Court of Justice, Art. 19, third para., and Annex I, Art. 7(1) and (3); Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal, Art. 35(1)(e))

2.      Officials — Actions — Prior administrative complaint — Time-limits — Mandatory

(Staff Regulations, Arts 90 and 91)

3.      Officials — Actions — Prior administrative complaint — Definition

(Staff Regulations Art. 90(2))

1.      Under Article 35(1)(e) of the Rules of Procedure of the Civil Service Tribunal the application must contain a statement of the pleas and arguments of fact and law on which it is based. Those particulars must be sufficiently clear and precise to enable the defendant to prepare its defence and to enable the Tribunal to give judgment in the action, if appropriate, without having to seek further information. In order to guarantee legal certainty and the sound administration of justice, it is necessary, for an action to be admissible, that the basic legal and factual particulars relied on are indicated coherently and intelligibly in the text of the application itself.

That is a fortiori the case since, under Article 7(3) of Annex I to the Statute of the Court of Justice, the written stage of the procedure before the Civil Service Tribunal comprises, in principle, only one exchange of written pleadings, unless the Tribunal decides otherwise.

The third indent of Article 19 of the Statute of the Court of Justice, applicable to proceedings before the Civil Service Tribunal by virtue of Article 7(1) of Annex I to the Statute, provides that the parties, other than the Member States, the institutions of the European Union, the States which are parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Surveillance Authority of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which is covered by that Agreement, must be represented by a lawyer. The main role of the latter, as a legal representative, is to ensure that the heads of claim of the application are based on sufficiently intelligible and coherent arguments, specifically in view of the fact that the written stage of the procedure before the Civil Service Tribunal comprises, in principle, only one exchange of written pleadings.

If an application does not adduce any plea in law or argument in support of the annulment of the contested decision and does not even mention the provision of the Staff Regulations on which it is based, it manifestly fails to meet the minimum conditions of clarity and precision that would enable the defendant to prepare its defence and the Civil Service Tribunal to rule on that head of claim.

(see paras 29-33)


28 April 1993, T-85/92 De Hoe v Commission, para. 20; 21 May 1999, T‑154/98 Asia Motor France and Others v Commission, para. 42; 15 June 1999, T‑277/97 Ismeri Europa v Court of Auditors, para. 29

26 June 2008, F-1/08 Nijs v Court of Auditors, para. 25

2.      The time-limit of three months for lodging a complaint against an act adversely affecting an official and that of three months for bringing an action against an express or implied decision rejecting the complaint, prescribed by Articles 90 and 91 of the Staff Regulations, are a matter of public policy and are not subject to the discretion of the parties or the Court, since they were established in order to ensure that legal positions are clear and certain. Those time-limits must be treated as applying to any challenge of an act subject to review by the Union courts, of whatever nature.

(see para. 35)


4 February 1987, 276/85 Cladakis v Commission, para. 11

17 October 1991, T‑129/89 Offermann v Parliament, paras 31 and 34; 8 March 2006, T‑289/04 Lantzoni v Court of Justice, paras 40 and 41