Malta / The Administrative Review Tribunal

Deciding body type
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding body
The Administrative Review Tribunal
Decision date
ECLI (European case law identifier)
  • Malta / The Administrative Review Tribunal

    Key facts of the case:

    The applicant and her late husband acquired a property via emphyteusis on 14 November 1980 which was used as a holiday home by her and her family. On 24 of November 2020, the applicant and her husband began an application under the 2019 scheme “For the Purchase of Direct Temporary Dominion” (DDT), which allows individuals who have a property via emphyteusis to purchase it and thus obtain full ownership of the property.

    During the process of the application, the M.P.’s husband passed away, leaving the applicant as universal heir. On 12 August 2021, the Land Authority - the department handling DDT applications, was notified of the event. On 1 February 2022, the Lands Authority informed the applicant that her DDT application had been rejected via a letter dated 22 January 2022. No specific rejection reason was mentioned, it simply stated that the applicant did not meet the scheme requirements.  

    The applicant challenged the Lands Authority decision before the Administrative Review Tribunal arguing that the Authority failed to explain its reasoning for rejecting the application. The applicant, therefore, asked the Tribunal to revoke the decision since it was not motivated and in violation of the principles of good administration.  

    Key legal question raised by the Court:

    Did the Land Authority provide sufficient information that justify its decision to reject the application? Was the decision in violation of Article 41 of the EU Charter on the principle to good administration?

    Outcome of the case:

    The Tribunal found that the Land Authority failed to provide the reasons why the application was rejected and that the decision lacked the minimum level of motivation a public entity must provide. This is because a citizen should be in a position to determine whether it is possible to appeal a decision made by a public authority. In fact, the applicant learned the reasons for the refusal only during the appeal and at the Tribunal's initiative.  

    In its decision, the Tribunal referred to Article 41 of the EU Charter on the Right to Good Administration, under which the administration must explain its decisions and base them on accurate facts. Considering this, the Tribunal requested the Land’s Authority to review the application again, and to provide the applicant with detailed information.

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter

    69. Article 296 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides that “[l]egal acts shall state the reasons on which they are based……” Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union provides that every person benefits from what is called in the heading the “Right to Good Administration,” which includes “the obligation of the administration to give reasons for its decisions.” In a judgment delivered as recently as 15th November 2012, the Court of Justice in Case C-417/11 Council v Bamba, the Court explained the purpose of the provision as follows: “The purpose of the obligation to state the reasons on which an act adversely affecting an individual is based, which is a corollary of the principle of respect for the rights of the defence, is, first, to provide the person concerned with sufficient information to make it possible to ascertain whether the act is well founded or whether it is vitiated by a defect which may permit its legality to be contested before the European Union judicature and, second, to enable that judicature to review the legality of that act.”

  • Paragraphs referring to EU Charter (original language)