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Niamh Kinchin

Where law is lawful, decision-makers must comply with the law. If administrative justice is to be achieved in the global space, administrative decision-makers must be committed to ‘legality’, meaning that their decisions are consistent with the existing body of law. A comparative analysis of prevailing functional understandings of administrative justice reveals that it contains a requirement that administrative decisions be made ‘according to law’. Global administrative justice requires cohesiveness, and cohesiveness implies stability, or an anchor to which standards can be tethered. If a requirement for decisions to be made according to law is incorporated into a model of global administrative justice, that anchor becomes the legal framework under which administrative decisions are made. The existing law in the global space, which is defined as international law, domestic law and institutional law, intersects with the United Nations to create legal obligations for its administrative decision-making.

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Niamh Kinchin

Normative conceptions of administrative justice that are based on rights protection and good governance form the foundation for the second requirement of global administrative justice, which is that administrative decisions must be made ‘according to values the community accepts as just’. These procedural values, which are broadly defined as rationality, fairness, transparency and participation, are revealed through an analysis of the ‘acceptance’ of procedural values by the ‘global community’. A fragmented global community can be defined as both municipal and cosmopolitan in nature, meaning that the values that the global community ‘accepts as just’ will be identified through the codification, interpretation and practice of democratically legitimate international law that reflects the principles of human dignity. Procedural values that are accepted as just by the global community manifest in the global space as divergent standards, according to the functions and objectives of individual global decision-making bodies.

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Administrative Justice in the UN

Procedural Protections, Gaps and Proposals for Reform

Niamh Kinchin

The UN’s capacity as an administrative decision-maker that affects the rights of individuals is a largely overlooked aspect of its role in international affairs. This book explores the potential for a model of administrative justice that might act as a benchmark to which global decision-makers could develop procedural standards. Applied to the UN’s internal justice, refugee status determination, NGO participation and the Security Council, the global administrative justice model is used to appraise the existing procedural protections within UN administrative decision-making.
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Niamh Kinchin

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Edited by Yannick Radi

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Niamh Kinchin

The UN’s Formal Internal Justice System is its primary forum for dispute resolution relating to employment. The model of global administrative justice is applied to the justice system, with a focus on the UN Dispute and Appeals Tribunals, because it produces administrative decisions that are made pursuant to formal power, which affect the rights, interests or obligations of UN staff members.Whilst the justice system ensures that the UN Tribunals are governed by appropriate procedural rules and regulations, such regulations can be complex which, along with issues of location and inclusivity, can diminish accessibility. Analysis of the procedures and decision-making that occur within the internal justice system through the lens of the global administrative justice model reveal a highly complex, often over-burdened system that does its best to articulate and implement good procedural practice, but that can be stultified by under-resourcing, structural complexities and a lack of reach.

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Niamh Kinchin

When administrative decision-making is removed from the domestic context and placed somewhere where no framework for administrative law exists, how can we assure that our rights are protected and the rule of law is respected? Administrative law does not exist doctrinally outside of the domestic context, yet administrative decision-making occurs in the ‘global space’ and within the United Nations (UN) in particular. Administrative decisions in the global space are those decisions that are made by international institutions in the exercise of formal power, which create, amend or affect the rights, interests or obligations of individuals or groups, as opposed to States. When the ability to ensure that decisions are lawful, rational, fair, transparent and allow for participation is denied, an accountability deficit emerges. It is suggested that accountability of administrative decision-making within the UN could be conceptualised through the public law concept of administrative justice.

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Niamh Kinchin

The Investigations Division of the Office of the Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) is an internal oversight body that investigates allegations of misconduct by UN staff and affiliated personnel, such as UN peacekeepers. Although the OIOS is primarily an investigatory body, it is not excluded from making or contributing to administrative decisions that affect the rights, interests and obligations of individuals, which in this context refer to rights, interests and obligations associated with internal disciplinary matters, but may involve criminal proceedings. The OIOS is a body encumbered with an enormous responsibility to deal with contentious issues that make it a lightning rod for public scrutiny. Although the OIOS has in place systems and practices that support administrative justice, encroachments on its independence, damaging cultural issues surrounding whistleblowing, the imposition of unrealistic standards of proof, the vulnerability of complainants and difficulties associated with the ‘field’ and immunities pose significant challenges.

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Edited by Yannick Radi