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Latvia / Administrative District Court / A420292915

ltd.”Korfa” v the State Revenue Service

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Administrative District Court
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
27/01/2016

Key facts of the case:

The applicant requested information from the State Revenue Service (hereinafter – SRS). The information was provided partly. According to the Section 22 (2) 4) of the Law on Taxies and Duties SRS may provide information on the taxpayer without the consent of the latter to pre-trial investigation authorities as well as sworn bailiffs, courts, public prosecutor’s office and other law enforcement agencies. According to the above mentioned law  and the Section 5 (1) of the Freedom of Information Law the SRS has no right to give restricted access information without the consent of the person.

The applicant submitted an application to the court to impose an obligation on the SRS to provide information.

The court pointed  that the right to access to documents is a well established principle of EU law. The right of access to documents of the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union is established in  the Article  42 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and at the Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. The right of access to information is subject to certain limitations justified on grounds of public or private interest. A decision refusing access is valid only if it is founded on one of the exceptions provided for by Article 4 of Regulation No 1049/2001. According to settled case-law, those exceptions must be construed and applied restrictively so as not to defeat the general principle enshrined in that regulation.

The examination required for the purpose of processing a request for access to documents must be specific in nature. First of all, the mere fact that a document concerns an interest protected by an exception is not of itself sufficient to justify the application of that exception. Such application may, in principle, be justified only if the institution has previously assessed, first, whether access to the document would specifically and actually undermine the protected interest and, secondly, in the circumstances referred to in Article 4(2) and (3) of Regulation No 1049/2001, whether there is any overriding public interest in its disclosure. Furthermore, the risk of a protected interest being undermined must be reasonably foreseeable and not purely hypothetical. Consequently, the examination which the institution must carry out in order to apply an exception must be specific and be evident from the statement of reasons for the decision.

The court admitted that the applicant has a legal and justified interest to receive information from SRS, and the rights or legal interests of the taxpayers of which the information is required, can  not be seriously affected.

The court does not see a justified interest for receiving information from SRS about a time period after 22 May 2015, because the management of the debtor is administered by an administrator and the administrator hasn’t pointed that there is a doubt of applicant’s transactions and supporting documents.

Outcome of the case: 

The court decided to satisfy the application in part and oblige the SRS to give part of information and to dismiss the application in the remaining part.