August 11, 2016

Having received the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, on 9 August, the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court reviewed the cassation complaint filed by the farm regarding the judgment of the Administrative Regional Court declaring that a decision of the Rural Support Service, by which the applicant is obliged to pay back received support, is found justified. The Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Administrative Regional Court.

Initially, the applicant indicated area of 10.20 ha of land for agricultural environment support, but she increased this initial area for 2.30 ha next year. Due to this increase the obligation was established anew for the term of five years. The applicant, misbelieving that obligations are fulfilled, when calculating five-year term from the moment of establishment of initial obligation, did not indicate the area to receive support in last year. The Rural Support Service decided to claim back all support paid, because it recognised that obligations were not fulfilled all necessary period.  

Previously, the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings in the case, until the Court of Justice of the European Union will adopt a decision regarding preliminary question. Observing the fact that support allocated to the applicant in respect of area, which was initially indicated for the purpose of receipt of support, actually ensured fulfillment of goals included in legal provisions of the European Union, the Supreme Court doubted whether limitation of applicant’s rights, envisaging to refund financing received for the area, in respect to which all prerequisites to receive support were fulfilled in all five-year period, is proportionate in the particular case.

The Supreme Court referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union with several preliminary questions: first, whether reclaim of support complies with goal of particular regulations and principle of proportionality; second, whether reclaim of support complies with Article 17 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights (right to property) in connection with Article 52 of the Charter (principles of limitation of fundamental rights); third, whether obligation to observe proportionality in observation of fundamental rights included in Article 52 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights envisages an opportunity to recede from application of such legal consequences, which are stipulated as mandatory in the Regulation and domestic legal provisions adopted in accordance with the Regulation,  if there are particular specific circumstances, in context of which limitation is recognised as disproportionate; fourth, whether, observing goal of respective regulations and margins of appreciation provided for Member States in these regulations, it is admissible that national court, grounding on considerations of proportionality, does not apply domestic legal provisions adopted for the purpose of implementation of the Regulation.  

Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press secretary of the Supreme Court
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