Key facts of the case:
(Appeal - Right to be heard - Right to be heard by a court or tribunal established in accordance with the law - Access to documents held by the institutions - Partial refusal to grant the appellant access to the documents concerned - Initial refusal - Implied decision deemed to exist - Replacement of an implied refusal by express decisions - Interest in bringing proceedings after the adoption of the express refusals - Exceptions to the right of access to documents - Safeguarding the interests of good administration - Protection of personal data and commercial interests)
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
156. Under the first paragraph of Article 184(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Justice, where the appeal is unfounded or where the appeal is well founded and the Court itself gives final judgment in the case, the Court is to make a decision as to costs.
157. Under Article 138(3) of the Rules of Procedure, applicable to appeal proceedings by virtue of Article 184(1) of those rules, where each party succeeds on some and fails on other heads, the parties are to bear their own costs. However, if it appears justified in the circumstances of the case, the Court may order that one party, in addition to bearing his own costs, is to pay a proportion of the costs of the other party.
158. Since the Commission has applied for costs to be awarded against Mr Strack and the latter has been unsuccessful in the appeal and in respect of the second ground of appeal in the cross-appeal, the appellant must be ordered to bear his own costs in the present proceedings and one third of the costs incurred by the Commission in these proceedings.
159. As regards the costs relating to the proceedings at first instance, the costs relating to the proceedings which gave rise to the judgment under appeal are to be born in accordance with the arrangements set out in paragraph 7 of the operative part thereof.
On those grounds, the Court (Second Chamber) hereby:
- Sets aside the judgment of the General Court of the European Union in Strack v Commission, Tâ392/07, EU:T:2013:8 in so far as, by that judgment, the General Court annulled the decision of the European Commission of 24 July 2007;
- Dismisses the cross-appeal for the remainder;
- Dismisses the appeal;
- Dismisses the action for annulment in so far as it is directed against the decision of the European Commission refusing access to the extract of the register concerning refusals of confirmatory applications for access to documents;
- Orders Mr Guido Strack to bear his own costs in the present proceedings and to pay one third of the costs incurred by the European Commission;
- Orders the European Commission to pay two thirds of the costs relating to the present proceedings;
- Orders the costs relating to the proceedings at first instance which gave rise to the judgment in Strack v Commission (Tâ392/07, EU:T:2013:8) to be paid in accordance with the arrangements laid down in paragraph 7 of the operative part thereof.