We would like to ensure that you are still receiving content that you find useful – please confirm that you would like to continue to receive ILO newsletters.
19 December 2017
A recent case has affirmed the principle that only completed actions can be subject to administrative review, and that an applicant must possess a legitimate interest at three crucial stages in order to pursue an action in the Administrative Court.
Sotos Savvas v Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC)(1) concerned a complaint that a third party had been promoted unfairly in preference to other applicants. However, the applicant filed his action before the third party had accepted the promotion, so that when the action was filed there was no promotion to complain about. The Administrative Court therefore dismissed the first of the six joined cases as premature and stated that the action at issue should have been completed in order for the court to review the case.
The court based its decision on Regulation 23(5) of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (Terms of Service) Regulations 1986,(2) which governed promotions at the time:
"Promotion is done by a written offer by the Authority to the promoted employee and upon his/her acceptance in writing thereon. The offer shall specify, inter alia, the date of promotion, the new salary scale, the payable salary and the date of any increase."
The court stated that it was clear that the promotion in question was concluded by the third party's acceptance of the offer, which took place after the filing of the administrative action.
The court adopted the earlier Supreme Court decision in George Kolokasides v the Educational Service Committee,(3) in which the Supreme Court held that the administrative action was directed against an incomplete action, since it was filed before the party had accepted the promotion. As the Supreme Court stated:
"There was no promotion that was actually carried out, in the sense that it had not yet been perfected or completed as required under the provisions of law upon acceptance by the person concerned and therefore there was no final decision which could be subject to a review."
Further, the Administrative Court rejected the second of the six joined cases based on the fact that the applicant had no legal interest in the issue. In order to file an administrative action, an applicant must satisfy the requirement laid down by Article 146, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution:
"Such recourse may be made by a person whose any (sic) existing legitimate interest, which he has either as a person or by virtue of being a member of a community, is adversely and directly affected by such decision or act or omission."
In the case in question, the applicant had made a signed statement to abandon all claims and withdraw any appeal against the EAC in exchange for accepting an application for inclusion in the EAC Early Eligible Retirement Scheme 2014.
The Administrative Court stated that, by signing the statement, the applicant had irrevocably accepted everything contained within it, including the compensation paid to him. The statement also contained an explicit provision that the applicant would immediately withdraw any action pending before the court at the time of signing and abandon all claims in question, including the complaint against the promotion of the third party. This statement could not be withdrawn at a later stage. This voluntary abandonment of the applicant's right regarding promotion deprived him of any legitimate interest in pursuing the promotion in question and, consequently, in continuing with his claim.
The court reiterated the principle of administrative law that a public officer who unreservedly accepts an administrative decision abandons any legitimate interest that might entitle him or her to oppose such a decision. Recalling settled case law, the court stated that the legitimate interest should exist at all stages of the procedure:
The court held that the legal interest of the applicant had been relinquished by his statement accepting the decision while the administrative action was pending.
For further information on this topic please contact Elena Riga at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC by telephone (+357 22 11 00 00) or email (email@example.com). The Elias Neocleous & Co LLC website can be accessed at www.neo.law.
The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.
ILO is a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. In-house corporate counsel and other users of legal services, as well as law firm partners, qualify for a free subscription.