Contracted EU civil servants in EU common security and defence policy missions: Procedural routes to judicial remedies

Graham Butler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The right of judicial review for EU civil servants against their employer has historically been guaranteed by both EU primary law and EU secondary law. This has been through staff regulations having regard to Articles 270, 298, and 336 TFEU providing for judicial redress of employment disputes. However, an increasing number of EU civil servants fall outside the scope of such staff regulations, for example, contracted EU civil servants working for the EU’s international missions in third states. These Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions employ thousands of people in different operational military and civilian capacities in the most dangerous regions of the world. There is a growing body of case law that has been developed at the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding access to justice for such staff, and how their employment-related disputes are to be adjudicated upon in the absence of staff regulations. This article probes the issue, and analyses the procedural difficulties, notably in terms of access to remedies, choice of applicable law, and the distinction between contractual and non-contractual issues, which such staff face. The article argues in favour of the introduction of specific staff regulations to cover contracted EU civil servants in CSDP missions, to ensure their procedural rights are protected, and that they have equal access to judicial protection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Labour Law Journal
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)353-375
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)‌
  • Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)
  • EU civil servants
  • EU employment law
  • EU external relations law
  • EU labour law
  • EU law
  • judicial review
  • staff regulations


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