In May 2021, Felix Braz, former deputy prime minister and minister of justice, lodged two appeals before the administrative court. One was against the grand ducal ruling that granted him an honourable resignation due to his state of health (Braz suffered a heart attack on 22 August 2019), at the request of the ministry of state. The other was against the decision of the state centre for human resources and organisation management (Centre de gestion du personnel et de l’organisation de l'État, CGPO), which decided on the compensation granted to Braz. In two judgements on 10 February 2023, the administrative court rejected his claims.
Braz had first requested the reformation or annulment of the grand ducal decree of 11 October 2019 granting him an honourable resignation from his duties as deputy prime minister and minister of justice. The nature of this order had to be qualified. Considering that its content was purely political, the administrative judge declared himself incompetent to review its regularity, by virtue of the fundamental principles of constitutional value of the separation of powers and the rule of law. “This is not the result we expected,” said Jean-Marie Bauler, Braz’s lawyer in the case.
We remain of the opinion that the grand ducal decree is not an act of government and that the judge was therefore competent to examine our case.
“We remain of the opinion that the grand ducal decree is not an act of government and that the judge was therefore competent to examine our case and to assess the materiality of the facts. The question is: did Mr Braz resign or not? We asked the judge to verify the existence of material elements that could attest to this resignation. The judge decided otherwise, agreeing with the state’s conclusions that the decree constituted an act of government, which would therefore escape the judge’s control.”
In a second appeal, the former deputy prime minister had asked for the reversal or annulment of the CGPO’s decision setting his waiting salary. In order to do so, his defence argued that there was a clear difference in treatment between ministers and senior civil servants who had been dismissed or had resigned due to a permanent incapacity to perform their duties. In the administrative court’s view, these two categories of persons are not in comparable situations with regard to the contested measure, which is a necessary element for discrimination to be alleged.
Mr Braz has taken this step with courage and determination and will continue to do so.
Braz’s lawyer confirms that Braz has decided to appeal both decisions: “It is with courage and determination that Mr Braz has taken this path and he will go all the way. We will probably file an appeal around 20 March and we can hope for a ruling in September or October.” Bauler is determined to defend his client’s position. “We still believe that there is discrimination between ministers and senior civil servants, even if the judge takes a different view. If a senior civil servant is in the situation of Mr Braz, he will have other benefits in addition to those of the minister, provided for by the law. For us, this is discrimination. It is inconceivable to me that we are in a country where, when you have the courage to be a politician, you cannot benefit from a double safety net as a civil servant.”
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.