Slovakia / Supreme Court of Slovak Republic / 10Asan/3/2017 N.X. – I-B, H. D. N. against the Defendant, Head of Police Corps in Prešov (Okresné riaditeľstvo Policajného zboru Prešov),

Key facts of the case:

The plaintiff petitioned the defendant with his application to temporarily remove the car from the official registry of vehicles pursuant to Article 119a of the Act No. 8/2009 on traffic, as amended (Zákon č. 8/2009 Z.z. o cestnej premávke, v platnom znení ). After the duration of the period during which the car was removed from the official registry, the plaintiff submitted the same application. However, the defendant viewed the application as a request to extend the period for the which the car would be removed from the official registry and charged the applicant with a higher administrative fee. Once the applicant refused to pay this fee, the defendant stopped the administrative procedure.

The plaintiff argued that the procedure was not legal and that he did not submit an applicant to extend the period. The plaintiff argued that his application clearly stated that it was an application to temporarily remove the car from the official registry. The plaintiff argued that the petitioner arbitrarily and wrongly considered this as an application for the extension of the said period and unjustly charged the applicant with a higher administrative fee. The plaintiff considered the decision to cease the administrative procedure due to the failure to pay the fee as violation of relevant laws.

According to the defendant, the plaintiff should have first requested to register the car and only then submit another application for the temporary removal from the registry. The court, however, did not find any laws that would require such procedure. For these reasons, the Court sided with the argument of the plaintiff that ceasing the administrative procedure due to the failure to pay the administrative fee violated the applicant’s right to good administration.

Legal background against which the case unfolded: 

  • Art. 119a Act Noc 8/2009 Coll, on traffic, as amended (Zákon č. 8/2009  Z. z. o cestnej premávke )
  • Art. 19 (2) 71/ 1967 Coll. on Administrative Procedure (Zákon č. 71/1967 Z.z. o správnom konaní)
  • Article 41 of the Charter 

Key legal question raised by the Court:

Whether the defendant was entitled to cease the procedure concerning the plaintiff’s application to remove the car from the official registry due to failure to pay administrative fee.

Outcome of the case:

The court hold that:

  • The administrative body inaccurately evaluated the application and consequently imposed wrong administration fee for the application.
  • The administrative body was not legally entitled to cease the administrative procedure.
  • The administrative body was not entitled to require the plaintiff to fulfil the obligation and to follow the procedure that was not imposed by any legal regulation.
  • The first instance court that was motioned by the plaintiff should not have dismiss the motion of the plaintiff.

For these reasons, the Court

  • Annulled the decision of the first instance court and returned it for the reviewed hearing .
  • Awarded the plaintiff with remedies of his legal expenses.
Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 

“37…Article 41 of the Charter defines the right to good administration, this applies,however, only in regards to the relationship of an individual to the bodies and institutions of the Union… ”

“38. Furthermore according to Art. 41 of the Charter, everyone has the right to remedy from the damages made by  the Community and its institutions or by its servants during the performance of their duties, in accordance with the general principles common to the laws of the Member States. The paragraph 4 guarantees the right to address the institutions of the Union in one of the languages of the Treaties and shall receive answer in the same language. The purpose of the Charter is to ensure that EU institutions respect fundamental rights during the preparation of new European laws. Commission not only guarantees that its proposals are in line with the Charter, but also guarantees that the implementation of EU legislation in Member States is in compliance with the Charter.”

“41. In this regard, we cannot omit, that public administration is a service provided to the public and basic rules of the procedure pursuant to § 3 of the Administrative Procedure, which are based on first and foremost on the Constitution (especially Art. 2) and laws (including laws of the European laws or laws arising from international treaties) although they are formulated in a more general manner, given that Slovak law is part of the European legal system, it is necessary interpret them within the spirit of European standards on general requirements of the quality of procedures and actions of the public administration called principles of “good administration” that have the basis in the literature, caselaw of European institutions, and some of the documents, especially of the Council of Europe (especially recommendations and resolutions of the Committee of Ministers) and of European Union.  “

Paragraphs referring to EU Charter (original language): 

“37. S nadobudnutím platnosti Lisabonskej zmluvy 01.12.2009 sa stala právne záväznou Charta. Čl. 41 Charty síce definuje právo na dobrú správu, avšak len vo vzťahu jednotlivca k orgánom a inštitúciám Únie. Podľa čl. 41 do práva na dobrú správu sa zahŕňa najmä:

a)  právo každého na vypočutie pred prijatím akéhokoľvek individuálneho opatrenia, ktoré by sa ho mohlo nepriaznivo dotýkať;

b)  právo každého na prístup k spisu, ktorý sa ho týka, za predpokladu rešpektovania oprávnených záujmov dôvernosti a služobného a obchodného tajomstva;

c)  povinnosť administratívy odôvodniť svoje rozhodnutia”.

“38. Ďalej má podľa čl. 41 ods. 3 Charty každý právo na náhradu škody spôsobenej inštitúciami alebo zamestnancami Únie pri výkone ich funkcií v súlade so všeobecnými zásadami spoločnými pre právne poriadky členských štátov. Odsek 4 napokon ustanovuje právo obrátiť sa na inštitúcie Únie v jednom z jazykov zmlúv a zároveň dostať odpoveď v rovnakom jazyku. Poslaním Charty je najmä zabezpečiť, aby inštitúcie EÚ rešpektovali základné práva pri príprave nových európskych právnych predpisov. Komisia  nielen zaručuje, že jej návrhy sú v súlade s Chartou, ale zabezpečuje aj to, aby sa Charta dodržiavala aj vtedy, keď právne predpisy EÚ uplatňujú členské štáty.”

“41. V tejto súvislosti nemožno opomenúť, verejná správa je službou verejnosti a základné pravidlá konania uvedené v § 3 Správneho poriadku, pre ktoré východiskom je systém prameňov práva predovšetkým ústava (najmä čl. 2) a zákony (vrátane právnej úpravy založenej právom Európskych spoločenstiev resp. upravenej medzinárodnými zmluvami) i keď sú formulované viac všeobecným spôsobom, je potrebné, vzhľadom na to, že slovenské právo je súčasťou európskeho právneho systému, v praxi interpretovať v duchu európskeho štandardu všeobecných požiadaviek na kvalitu postupov a činnosti verejnej správy súhrnne označovaných ako princípy „dobrej správy“ (Good Governance, Good Administration), majúceho základ v literatúre, judikatúre európskych inštitúcií a niektorých dokumentoch najmä Rady Európy (najmä odporúčania a rezolúcie Výboru ministrov Rady Európy) a Európskej únie.” 

Language: 
Slovak
Deciding body (original language): 
Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky
Language: 
Slovak