The CFA deliberates in private sessions, its working documents are confidential and, in practice, decisions are taken by consensus.
No representative or national of the State against which a complaint has been lodged, or person occupying an official position in the national complainant organization, or a member from the employers’ or workers’ group of the country concerned, may participate in the deliberations or even be present during the hearing of the complaint in question. Similarly, the documents concerning the case are not supplied to them.
Despite there are no formal rules fixing any particular period of prescription in the procedure for examining complaints, the CFA has acknowledged that it may be difficult for a government – if not impossible – to reply in detail to allegations regarding matters which occurred a long time ago. It may in such cases choose not to examine the complaint.
Withdrawal of complaints
Any request for withdrawal of a complaint must come from the complainant organization concerned. Where a request is made, the CFA evaluates the reasons given to explain the withdrawal. This is done with a view to establishing whether the request has been made in full independence.
Where a request is made for the postponement of examination of a case, either by a complainant or the government, the practice followed by the CFA consists of deciding the question in full freedom when the reasons given for the request have been evaluated and taking into account the circumstances of the case. See the Procedures for the examination of complaints alleging violations of freedom of association for details.
The CFA report of a case is transmitted to the full Governing Body for approval, and ultimately published in the Official Bulletin and on the ILO website. CFA reports on each case have the following structure: allegations made, government’s reply, conclusions and recommendations of the CFA. Since case handling normally continues over several meetings, case reports use a particular terminology to reflect status and results.
CFA reports can also be found in the NORMLEX database, where cases appear by status in the country profiles.
The CFA has recently decided that any inactive cases, i.e. cases that have not received information from the parties for 18 months (or 18 months from the last examination of the case), will be considered closed. This practice would not be used for serious and urgent cases. The closure of inactive cases concerning countries that have not ratified the Conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining will be decided on a case-by-case basis depending upon the nature of the case. Cases that are closed in this manner will have the following indication on the ILO website: “In the absence of information from either the complainant or the Government in the last 18 months since the Committee examined this case, this case has been closed.”