A case initiated with respect to norms that establish the obligation of a person, who has been made administratively liable, to cover the expenditure of storing property that has been removed in an administrative case
On 8 March 2018, the 1st Panel of the Constitutional Court initiated the case “On Compliance of the Eighth Part of Section 257 of the Latvian Administrative Violations Code and Para 74 of the Cabinet Regulation of 7 December 2010 No.1098 “Regulation on Handling of Property and Documents Removed in a Case of Administrative Violation” with Article 92 and Article 105 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia.
The Contested Norms
The Eighth Part of Section 257 of the Latvian Administrative Violations Code (hereinafter – the Code): “A person upon whom an administrative sanction is imposed, shall, according to the procedures and in the amount specified by the Cabinet, cover the expenditures, which have arisen in relation to the transfer for storage, storage and destruction of the removed property and documents in the administrative violation matter.”
Para 74 of the Cabinet Regulation of 7 December 2010 No.1098 “Regulation on Handling of Property and Documents Removed in a Case of Administrative Violation” (hereinafter – the Regulation No. 1098): “The amount of expenditure for storing the removed property or document, if an administrative sanction has been imposed in a case of administrative violation, shall be calculated from the date when the property or the document was removed until the day:
74.1. when the person received the removed property or document;
74.2. when the owner of the removed property or document has relinquished the removed property or document;
74.3. when the removed property was destroyed or sold;
74.4. when the decision on confiscation of the property or document removed in a case of administrative violation has entered into force.”
The Norms of Higher Legal Force
Article 92 of the Satversme: “Everyone has the right to defend his or her rights and lawful interests in a fair court. Everyone shall be presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been established in accordance with law. Everyone, where his or her rights are violated without basis, has a right to commensurate compensation. Everyone has a right to the assistance of counsel.”
Article 105 of the Satversme: “Everyone has the right to own property. Property shall not be used contrary to the interests of the public. Property rights may be restricted only in accordance with law. Expropriation of property for public purposes shall be allowed only in exceptional cases on the basis of a specific law and in return for fair compensation.”
The case has been initiated with respect to an Application submitted by the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court (hereinafter – the Supreme Court). An applicant submitted a cassation complaint in an administrative case to the Supreme Court, by the decision of the Provision State Agency, the applicant had been imposed the obligation to cover the expenditure for placing into storage and for storing property removed in a case of administrative violation. The amount of expenditure calculated by the Agency for storing the property exceeds several times the amount of administrative fee imposed upon the person.
The Supreme Court holds that the contested norms impose upon a person, who has been made administratively liable, an obligation to cover the expenditure of storing property removed in an administrative case until the moment when the ruling to make a person administratively liable becomes enforceable. The contested norms do not envisage a possibility, in some cases, to release a person from the obligation to cover this expenditure or to reduce the amount of this expenditure. Therefore the Supreme Court holds that the contested norms are incompatible with the right to a fair trial enshrined in Article 92 of the Satversme and the right to property enshrined in Article 105 of the Satversme.
The Constitutional Court has requested the Saeima and the Cabinet of Ministers to provide a reply on the facts of the case and legal substantiation by 8 May 2018.
The term for preparing the case is 8 August 2018. The Court shall decide upon the procedure and the date for hearing the case after the case has been prepared.
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Linked case: 2018-09-0103