Skip to main content
UN Library logo
Research Guides

UN Documentation: Secretariat

UN Administration of Justice

The UN has an internal justice system to resolve staff-management disputes because the organization has immunity from local jurisdiction and cannot be sued in a national court.

The UN Administrative Tribunal functioned from 1950-2009. It was replaced in 2009 by the new system, composed of two tribunals: the UN Dispute Tribunal and the UN Appeals Tribunal. The General Assembly adopted the new system of administration of justice in resolution 63/253 of 24 December 2008.

Current System (2009-)

Function

The UN Dispute Tribunal and the UN Appeals Tribunal handle internal disputes and disciplinary matters in the UN.

The UN Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) is the body to which staff members can formally dispute an administrative decision taken against them. When resolution through informal means cannot be arrived at, and when the result of the management evaluation is not to the satisfaction of the staff member, an application can be made to the UN Dispute Tribunal, as a court of first instance.

The UN Appeals Tribunal reviews appeals against decisions made by the UN Dispute Tribunal. Both staff and the administration can appeal UNDT decisions to the Appeals Tribunal.

Basic Legal Texts

The Statutes of both tribunals are annexed to General Assembly resolution 63/253.

The Rules of Procedure for both tribunals are found in General Assembly resolution 64/119 of 16 December 2009. 

Judgements & Court Orders

The text of judgements and orders of both tribunals are available on their websites. They are not issued as symbolled documents in the Official Document System, or indexed in the Library's catalogue UNBISnet.

  • Selected decisions are also reproduced in Chapter V of the UN Juridical Yearbook.
  • The judgements of both bodies may be produced in any of the official UN languages, though the working languages of the Appeals Tribunal are specified as English and French. 

Judgements of the UNDT are identified by the year of the judgement, the judgement number and the individual party's name.

  • The number assigned to judgements begins with one (001) each year, and counts judgements from all three registries.
  • Example: UNDT/2011/031 (CHIJARIRA) was the 31st judgement rendered by the UNDT across all three registries in 2011.

Each order of the UNDT is also identified by the name of the applicant and an order number.

  • However, unlike judgements, the sequential numbering of orders is separate for each of the three locations that the UNDT operates in: New York, Geneva and Nairobi.
  • Example: 47 (NY/2011) SIMMONS was the 47th order delivered in New York
  • Example: 145 (NBI/2010) AMEER was the 145th order delivered in Nairobi
  • Not all orders are published: there are gaps in the numbers of the orders listed on the website

Judgements of the UN Appeals Tribunal are identified by the year of the judgement, the judgement number and the individual party's name;

  • Example: 2010-UNAT-001 (Campos) was the first judgement rendered by the UNAT in 2010
  • The party name identified in the citation can be that of either the appellant or the respondent

Orders of the UN Appeals Tribunal include the order number and the year or party name.

Like other documents produced by the UN, judgements of both bodies can include the suffix -/Corr. This indicates that there has been a correction made to the original judgement.

UN Administrative Tribunal (1950-2009)

The United Nations Administrative Tribunal was established by General Assembly resolution 351 A (IV) of 24 November 1949; the annexed Statute defined the mandate of the Tribunal.

  • The Statute was amended by the General Assembly at various times; the final text is contained in AT/11/Rev.6 (Sales number: 03.X.1)
  • General Assembly resolution 63/253 abolished the UN Administrative Tribunal

The Statute, Rules and Judgements of the UN Administrative Tribunal are available on the website.

  • The decisions of the UN Administrative Tribunal, whose numbers do not coincide with the case numbers, were first issued as separate documents under the series symbol AT/DEC/- and later cumulated (list of symbols)
  • The cumulations also include a subject index to the judgements during the period in question and give the composition of the Tribunal for the same timeframe
  • The full text of the decisions (from the beginning in 1950 onwards) is accessible through UNBISnet and the Official Document System of the United Nations (ODS)
  • Selected decisions were republished in Chapter V of the UN Juridical Yearbook