ORDER OF THE EUROPEAN UNION CIVIL SERVICE TRIBUNAL (Second Chamber)

15 January 2014 (*)

(Reopening of the oral procedure)

In Case F‑26/12,

ACTION brought under Article 36.2 of the Protocol on the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank annexed to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

Maria Concetta Cerafogli, member of the staff of the European Central Bank, residing in Frankfurt am Main (Germany), represented by S. Pappas, lawyer,

applicant,

v

European Central Bank (ECB), represented by A. Sáinz de Vicuña Barroso, E. Carlini and S. Lambrinoc, acting as Agents, and B. Wägenbaur, lawyer,

defendant,

THE CIVIL SERVICE TRIBUNAL (Second Chamber)

composed of M. I. Rofes i Pujol, President, K. Bradley (Rapporteur) and J. Svenningsen, Judges,

Registrar: W. Hakenberg,

makes the following

Order

1        By application of 23 February 2012, Ms Cerafogli brought the present action seeking, in essence, annulment of the decision of the European Central Bank (ECB) refusing her access to certain documents (‘the contested decision’) and claiming compensation for the non-material damage she claims to have suffered as a result of that decision.

2        The parties presented oral argument and gave their replies to the questions asked by the Tribunal at the hearing on 17 October 2013. Following the hearing, the oral procedure was closed and the case entered the deliberation stage.

3        By judgment of 25 October 2013 in Case T‑476/11 P Commission v Moschonaki, the General Court of the European Union essentially held, in paragraph 73 of that judgment, that claims for relief before the Courts of the European Union may contain only heads of claim based on the same cause of action as that of the heads of claim in the complaint, although those heads of claim may be developed before the Courts of the European Union by the presentation of pleas in law and arguments which, whilst not necessarily appearing in the complaint, are closely linked to it.

4        During the hearing in the present case, the argument focused in particular on the plea of illegality raised by the applicant in respect of the procedure adopted by the Executive Board of the ECB on 1 August 2006, and subsequently amended on 30 September 2008, to enable ECB members of staff to have access to the decisions of the Executive Board directly related to their employment relationship with the ECB, that procedure having been followed for the adoption of the contested decision. However, the parties did not exchange argument on the issue of the admissibility of the plea of illegality, nor that of the other pleas directed specifically against the contested decision, particularly with regard to the rule of correspondence between the complaint and the legal action. Moreover, the possible application of that rule has not been addressed in the written submissions of the parties.

5        Although the requirement of correspondence between the complaint and the legal action, upon which the admissibility of that action depends, constitutes an issue of public policy which may be raised by the court of its own motion (see judgment of 11 July 2007 in Case F‑7/06 B v Commission, paragraph 26 and the case-law cited), the Tribunal, taking the view that it does not have sufficient information, has decided to reopen the oral procedure in order to hear argument regarding the application, in the present case, of the rule of correspondence between the complaint and the legal action, in particular in the light of the judgment in Commission v Moschonaki, as well as the judgments of 11 December 2008 in Case F‑136/06 Reali v Commission, paragraphs 47 to 51, and of 1 July 2010 in Case F‑45/07 Mandt v Parliament, paragraph 121.

6        Therefore, in accordance with Article 52(2) of the Rules of Procedure, it is appropriate to order the reopening of the oral procedure in Case F‑26/12 for the purposes specified in the operative part of this order.

On those grounds,

THE CIVIL SERVICE TRIBUNAL (Second Chamber)

hereby orders:

1.      The oral procedure in Case F‑26/12 Cerafogli v ECB is reopened.

2.      The parties are invited to submit written observations on the admissibility of the various pleas in law and of the plea of illegality raised in the application with regard to the rule of correspondence between the complaint and the legal action, in particular in the light of the judgment of 25 October 2013 in Case T-476/11 P Commission v Moschonaki, as well as the judgments of 11 December 2008 in Case F‑136/06 Reali v Commission, paragraphs 47 to 51, and of 1 July 2010 in Case F‑45/07 Mandt v Parliament, paragraph 121.

3.      Costs are reserved.

Luxembourg, 15 January 2014.

W. Hakenberg

 

      M. I. Rofes i Pujol

Registrar

 

      President


* Language of the case: English.