With financial support from the EU's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme
Before giving the report the President stated that the necessary presence quorum of more than half of the member States is fulfilled and he expressed his deep thanks to Mr Heydemann, chairperson of the German Association of Administrative Judges for giving the AEAJ the opportunity to have organized a round table in the framework of the Deutscher Verwaltungsrichtertag 2010. Furthermore, the President also expressed his gratitude to the contributions to the roundtable, namely delivered by Mr Justice Mc Closkey, Mrs Segan, Mrs Sandström and Mrs Pappel, as well as to Mr Michaelis and Mr Heermann. The president also welcomed explicitly the observers at the General Assembly, i.e. Mr Mariuzzo for the organization Verdif as well as Mrs Pauzaite from Lithuania and Mr Neimanis from Latvia and he was giving mention to the fact, that this meeting was partly funded by an operational grant from the European Commission, Fundamental Rights and Citizenshops programme, nevertheless the AEAJ were the only responsible organization for this meeting.
The President gave his report to the general assembly, briefly pointing out the board activities since the last meeting of the General Assembly in Sofia in 2009. Within the last year, the board met in September 2009 in Stockholm to prepare the autumn programme for 2009 and in February 2010 in Münster.
Special mention was given to the several meetings of the different working groups, which had taken place since the last meeting of the General Assembly:
The working group on asylum and immigration matters held a seminar on 5th to 6th June 2009 in Vienna.
The working group on taxation law, chaired by Vice-President Jasna Segan, held a meeting in Beaulieu on 7-8th October 2009, in the course of which topics regarding the Role of Administrative Judge in Tax Disputes, presented by Jasna Šegan, the Judge's Investigative Power in Taxation Cases, presented by Rosa Perna, the Alternative Dispute Resolution – amicable settlement, presented by Willem Brouwer and Transfer Pricing, presented by Serge Schroeder, were discussed.
Immediately afterwards, on 9-10th October 2009 the meeting of the working group on independence and efficiency, chaired by the Vice-Presidents Mrs Sandström and Mr Even, took place also in Beaulieu. This meeting were devoted to deepen discussions on various system of administrative justice and administrative procedural codes; in the course of which 3 sub-groups dealt with the following topics:
Remuneration, chaired by Vice-President Bernard Even, furthermore the second sub-group dealt with questions of sources of delays and solutions under the aspect of composition and organization of Courts, chaired by Vice-President Annika Sandström, whereas the third subgroup dealt with questions of sources of delays and solutions under the aspect of inadequate procedural rules with respect to witnesses, experts and oral hearings
Legal remedies against delays, with special regard to Art. 13 of the Human Rights' Convention, chaired by Carlo Schockweiler. Thanks was especially expressed to Mr Schockweiler for having chaired the third sub-group.
Furthermore, from 27th to 30th October a conference had been organized in Chateau Klingenthal, near Strasbourg, with the thankful help of Vice-President Mr Even, dealing with the topic of execution of ECHR’s judgements. In the course of this meeting also a visit could be contributed to the ECHR, where we were received by the president of the Court. We also visited the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. Moreover the conference participants were welcomed by the French ambassador at the Council of Europe in his residence. The Goethe Fondation in Chateau Klingenthal were hosting the conference participants for free.
Finally, another conference could be organized in Palermo from 12th to 13th November 2009, with the thankful help of Giovanni Tulumello, the topic of which were problems of access to administrative justice in order to seek fundamental rights on the basis of case studies. The meeting were hosted by the University of Palermo in Palazzo Steri, in the course of which also Professor Viola delivered a speech. Also the topic of legal aid were addressed during the meeting.
AEAJ were also present as member in the meetings of the Justice Forum (within the General Directorate of Justice, Freedom and Security).
On the issue of relations with the Council of Europe it was stressed that the AEAJ was again represented as observer in different groups, expressing thanks to the Exclusive Correspondent with the Council of Europe, Pierre Vincent.
With respect to the Fundamental Rights Agency the president gave mention to the fact that members of the AEAJ could actively participate in different meetings of the Agency, namely in the Fundamental Rights Platform in Vienna, in which Mrs Gamauf-Boigner were willing to be candidate for the Advisory Panel of the Agency, as well as a conference in Vienna, tackling the issue of access to justice, legal aid and alternative dispute settlements, in which Mr Justice Mc Closkey participated as representative and finally a conference organized on the topic of influence of the economic crises on migrants, in which Mr Böhmann represented AEAJ.
Furthermore, the President participated actively in an EU-Twinning Project with Bulgaria, inter alia holding a speech, dealing with the topic of administrative judges as European judges.
On the issue of external relations of the AEAJ, the co-operation with the General Directorate on Justice, Freedom and Security was given special mention, which granted operational funding for 2009. The mentioned meetings were therefore funded. In rough, the budget of AEAJ for 2009 were approximately 41.000 Euro, of this amount 80 %, i.e. approximately 34.000.- Euro were contributed by the European Union.
For 2010 the AEAJ were successful to be granted funding under this programme again. Thus the meeting of the General Assembly could exceptionally be funded. However, special mention was given to the fact, that application procedures were quite difficult, needs of bank guarantees had to be fulfilled, and only half of the granted funding were pre-paid, whereas the rest were granted only after having controlled that the programme had fully been carried out thanks to the discipline of the working group chairs and of all our members. For 2009 the EU now fully paid the granted funding. The same procedure were applicable for the funding application for 2010. The president informed the General Assembly, that for 2010 the funding conditions of the EU had changed insofar, as minimum application were required by the programme and the percentage of support decreases yearly within this programme. Thus application for a budget of 80.000,- Euro with a support of 75% were made, which means a minimum contribution of 20.000.- by own means of AEAJ. As the usual budget were approximately 12.000.- Euro a gap of app. 5.000.- Euro needed to be filled for 2010.
The president finally expressed his thanks for the work of the Vice-Presidents, chairs of working groups, the Exclusive Correspondent with the Council of Europe, the Secretary-General and the Treasurer.
The Vice President expresses his thanks to the President for his work in the last year.
The working group on environmental matters, chaired by Vice-President Werner Heermann, was mentioned to be very active. It consisted of 24 members.
The Vice-President informed the General Assembly, that the EU Commission charged EIPA (European Institute of Public Administration) with the application of the programme “Support for Cooperation with National Judges in the Field of Environmental Law”. This programme pursued training of judges. In this context a common learning package on European environmental law would be established containing modules for training sessions. He gave mention to the fact, that the conference of the working group in Sofia in June 2009 were supported by EIPA and were used as a test of training methods. Furthermore, EIPA held the following workshops, namely in Lithuania in December 2009 on waste management, in Paris in February 2010 on nature protection, in Berlin in February 2010 on waste management, in Ljubljana in March 2010 on waste management and in London in March 2010 on nature protection.
The Vice-President could positively report that for each of these workshops working group members were nominated from AEAJ and all candidates were accepted. Within the next weeks the steering committee for the above mentioned programme, to which the Vice-President belongs, would meet in order to discuss the next steps. The Commission were interested in further cooperation with judges’ associations like AEAJ.
Furthermore, the EU Commission invited the Vice-President to a conference in Sibiu (Romania) last September 2009 which were organized in cooperation with IMPEL (Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law). IMPEL were a network of public authorities charged with the application of European environmental law. In Sibiu the Vice-President participated in a round table discussion.
Two working group members could also attend the conference, organized by EUFJE (EU Forum of Judges for the Environment) in Stockholm from 16 to 17 October 2009 on IPPC (Integrated Polution Prevention Control).
ERA (Academy of European Law) invited the Vice-President to hold a speech on “Judicial Review before German Courts” at a conference in Lisbon last November 2009. The topics of this conference were environmental impact assessment and enforcement of community law.
The next workshop would be held in Spain in October 2010 with financial support under the programme “Fundamental Rights and Citizenship” and would focus on procedural law and procedural rights in environmental matters.
Report of Vice-President Jasna Segan:
The Vice-President reported on the progress in the work with her working group on taxation law, which now already consisted of 29 members from different member States.
As already shortly mentioned by the President, the working group held a meeting in Beaulieu on 7-8th October 2009, in the course of which topics regarding the Role of Administrative Judge in Tax Disputes, presented by Jasna Šegan, the Judge's Investigative Power in Taxation Cases, presented by Rosa Perna, the Alternative Dispute Resolution – amicable settlement, presented by Willem Brouwer and Transfer Pricing, presented by Serge Schroeder, were discussed. In this context the Vice-President expressed her thanks to the speakers. The meeting took place on the basis of quesionnaires, sent out to all participants, on the analysis of the answers of which the summaries had been prepared by the speakers and further in depth deliberations started.
The programme of the working group for 2010 would concentrate on topics of tax fraud and carussel as well as direct taxation of national persons in the EU and union law and rights and duties of tax payers under consideration of the right to privacy (ECHR and FRCh). Again, a questionnaire would be sent to the participants, on the basis of which deliberations would be then held in the next meeting in Beaulieu on 19th and 20th October 2010.
With respect to the above mentioned Justice Forum, the Vice-President stressed the importance of participation and of presence by AEAJ, as predominantly civil and criminal justice topics had been dealt with, thus now more regard would need to be focused on administrative law matters. The Justice Forum were established by the EU Commission in 2008 in order to promote contacts with stakeholders in the Justice system. Within the Justice Forum, she - together with Mr Tulumello - could attend the annual meeting in June 2009 and she attended furthermore a meeting in October 2009 dealing with topics on the impact of the economic crises. A meeting in April 2010 could be attended by Mr Danias. However, the project of e-justice, a new portal which should be opened and active from the end of the year 2009 onwards to give necessary information on legislation, jurisprudence and decisions of national member States, were not finished yet due to financial problems and no new plans to launch this project had been published.
Report of Vice-President Annika Sandström:
The Vice-President mentioned the importance of independence, linked with efficiency. She gave mention to the last meeting of the working group on independence and efficiency in Beaulieu in 2009, as already mentioned by the President, in the organisation and preparation of which she had been involved as co-chair of the WG. Topics were remuneration, chaired by Vice-President Bernard Even, furthermore the second sub-group dealt with questions of sources of delays and solutions under the aspect of composition and organization of Courts, chaired by her, whereas the third subgroup dealt with questions of sources of delays and solutions under the aspect of inadequate procedural rules with respect to witnesses, experts and oral hearings, legal remedies against delays, with special regard to Art. 13 of the Human Rights' Convention, chaired by Mr Schockweiler.
Furthermore, she could actively participate in the meeting in Palermo in November 2009 and also attend the conference in Stockholm in December 2009, organized by the Fundamental Rights Agency. The Vice-President furthermore noted that the next meeting of the working group would be on 17th and 18th October in Beaulieu.
Report of Vice-President Bernard Even:
The Vice-President, as co-chair of the working group of Independence and Efficiency, reported on the meeting of it in in Beaulieu sur mer in October 2009, where 29 participants of 11 countries were present.
Furthermore, the Vice-President gave mention to the meeting in Strasbourg/Klingenthal in October 2009, where 20 colleagues from 10 countries could actively participate. Also a visit to all European institutions, as well as the Rhein-Commission and the tribunal administratif in Strasbourg were possible to undergo, as well as deliberations on the topic of execution of ECHR’s judgements, concerning the implementation of Art. 46 ECHR in national court practise.
The Vice-President reported to have attended a meeting in Lithuania with the president of the Administrative Court in Vilnius and President of the Supreme Administrative Court, discussing the membership with AEAJ. So far, only individual members were registered with AEAJ, whereas a national judges association existed without a specific subgroup for administrative judges in this national association. He also attended the annual meeting of the EU Forum of Judges for the Environment in Stockholm on 16th and 17th October 2009 as well as several meetings in the Council of Europe as representative of the Exclusive Correspondent, Mr Pierre Vincent.
The Exclusive Correspondent reported on the activities within the Council of Europe, stressing the importance of co-operation with the Council of Europe, especially its activities with respect to administrative law, as strong links between the Council of Europe and the AEAJ existed. Among others he noted the meetings of the legal Committee of administrative law and of its working-party (CDA and CDA-GT), as well as the Commission for the efficiency of justice (CEPEJ), noting that the group CDA had been cancelled by the Council of Europe due to lack of financial support. He firmly expressed his regret about the cancellation of this working group, as they had dedicated their work to administrative legal matters. The AEAJ were present at the meetings, being an observer as well as recently also in the European Committee on Migration (CDMG), noting the importance of CEPEJ as the key institution of judiciary in Europe and the basis for other bodies within the Council of Europe and the fruitful discussions within this body, as well as noting The Consultative Council of Justice (CDCJ), having less means than CEPEJ, which hold a meeting in Ljubljana recently.
Furthermore, special mention was also given to a revision of the recommendation of the Council of Europe, Rec. No 94/12 on issues of independence, efficiency and the role of justice in the context of fundamental rights.
The treasurer reported on the budget and the calculation for the year 2009, explaining receipts and expenses, distributed. Due to the funding granted by the EU Commission programme for 2009, the workload had been quite intensified. Therefore a distribution of detailed receipts and expenses to all participants of the General Assembly were impossible due to its volume.
In short, on 1st January 2009 an asset of 2.539,65 Euro were available, in 2009 income were 37.894,08 Euro as funding granted by the EU Commission and 10.060,00 Euro as income from membership fees. The EU Commission paid 50% of the granted funding, i.e. 17.834,08 Euro, already in mid 2009, and the President granted a pre-financing amount from this private means of 10.000 Euro in order to be able to implement the fixed programme for 2009. The missing part of the granted funding were paid after a check and final report recently. Expenses in 2009 were all in all 32.180,83 Euro, on 31st December 2009 an asset of 8.252,91 Euro were available.
Membership fees for 2009 were paid, with view exceptions, the Croatian members still had not founded an association, although this would be more advisable for them. He also stressed the necessity of getting a bank guarantee as prerequisite to get funding granted by the EU Commission, which had also been completed by the President by his private means for 2009 and would also be necessary for 2010.
The auditors, Mr. Bengt Almebäck in co-operation with Mrs. Laura Yilmaz, after examining the accounts, gave their reports, indicating that there would be no complaint. All the accounts were in good order, expressing the congratulations to the treasurer for his intensive work.
The general assembly unanimously decided to discharge the board and the treasurer.
Mr Janis Neimanis, chairperson of the Latvian Association of Administrative Judges, which were founded only 6 months ago, presented its organization to the General Assembly, noting also that out of 65 Latvian administrative judges, about 41 judges were currently member in the national association. Mr Berkis, who had been individual member of AEAJ so far, were member of the Latvian board of the national association. The General Assembly unanimously admitted the Latvian Association as member of the AEAJ.
Furthermore Mrs Karin Winter, representative and board member of the Austrian Association of Judges of the Asylum Court, presented her association, having been founded also recently and having most of the asylum judges as registered members. The General Assembly unanimously admitted the Austrian Association of Judges of the Asylum Court as member of the AEAJ.
The following individual members were unanimously admitted by the General Assembly:
The president repeated that as a prerequisite of the received operational funding by the European Commission, the AEAJ were not allowed to have any profits of the years work.
He marked, as already announced in his report, that for 2010 the AEAJ were successful to be granted funding under the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship’s programme of the EU Commission, again. Thus the meeting of the General Assembly could exceptionally be funded.
However, special mention needed to be given to the fact, that application procedures were quite difficult, needs of bank guarantees had to be fulfilled, and only half of the granted funding were pre-paid, whereas the rest were granted only after having controlled that the programme had fully been carried out, which needed some discipline. For 2009 the EU now fully paid the granted funding. The same procedure were applicable for the funding application for 2010. The president informed the General Assembly, that for 2010 the funding conditions of the EU require a minimum contribution of 20.000.- by own means of AEAJ. As the usual budget were approximately 12.000.- Euro a gap of approximately 4.800.-.- Euro needed to be filled for 2010. Therefore he stressed the urgent necessity to increase the membership fees for all members for this year 2010, in order to be able to obtain the funding.
The treasurer reported that income from normal membership fee for 2010 were expected to be of an amount of 11.980.- Euro. Therefore he explained that every member would need to increase the membership fee according to its normal amount of membership fee:
As regular membership fee for regular members were 1.300.- Euro for the time being, this would mean an increase of plus 550.- Euro each. The regular membership fee for the Eastern European members were 200.-, this would mean an increase of plus 100.- Euro each. The regular membership fee for reduced Eastern European members were 100.- Euro. This would mean an increase of plus 50.- Euro each. The membership fee for individual members were 30.- Euro. This would mean an increase of plus 15 Euro each.
All increases of membership fee were applicable only for 2010 in order to implement the funding programme of the EU Commission.
The president furthermore explained that due to the application and now granted funding the following funding for participants would be possible due to the funding granted by the EU:
He noted that this amount of funding – in addition to the remarkable funding of the participants at the General Assembly in Freiburg, meant a much higher amount of funding possible than in 2009. An application for less funding would not have been possible due to the strict provisions of the EU funding programme.
The General Assembly voted with majority for the increase of membership fees for 2010 with that amount each, as laid down in detail by the treasurer. No votes against it and one abstention from voting from Germany. The German representative explains to support the proposal. Nonetheless he cannot vote in favour of it because he has no internal pouvoir to decide this question.
Regarding Article 2 of the Statutes:
Statutes' alterations as proposed by the presiding President were discussed; the reasons for the proposal were to allow active participation of academic lawyers, who are not administrative judges. New wording of Art. 2 para 4 as follows:
"Supranational associations of administrative judges shall be able/allowed to join the Association as associated members without a right to vote. Individual academic lawyers, who are not administrative judges, may join the Association as observers without a right to vote. "
was approved unanimously.
Regarding Article 5 para 2 of the Statutes:
Mr Holger Böhmann proposed the changes of statutes to keep the experience of the board, as the competence and networking facilities would be needed for the Association.
Alteration of the second sentence of Art. 5 para 2 were discussed and the new wording of this sentence as follows:
"They shall be eligible up to four reelections."
was approved by the General Assembly unanimously.
Furthermore, to assure continuity election of new board members already in advance should be made possible, so that a new board member could already be integrated in the work of the old board. Thus further statutes alterations concerning Art. 5 para 2, as proposed by Mrs Marion Jaffré, were discussed and the new wording of the third and fourth sentence of this paragraph:
"New board members can be elected for the next or the next but one period in advance.The Board shall meet as required, however, at least once a year."
was approved by the General Assembly unanimously.
The General Assembly unanimously admitted Mrs Jurgita Pauzaite-Kulvinskieme (Lithuania) as observer of the AEAJ.
Election of the board was another item of this year’s agenda of the general assembly of the Association.Vice-President Mrs Segan chaired the election procedures. The general assembly agreed unanimously to have four Vice-Presidents in all, according to Art. 5 of the statutes.
Candidates for the new board were Dr. Zens, Dr. Heermann, Mrs. Sandström Mr. Even and Mr Tulumello. Mr Palliggiano, representative of the Italian member-organization, declares to support the cadidature of Mr Tulumello being the only Italian candidate.
The General Assembly voted unanimously for the following new members of the board:
Dr. Heinrich Zens, Austrian Verwaltungsgerichtshof, Vienna, Austria, as President of the association
Dr. Werner Heermann, Germany,
Mrs. Annika Sandström, Länsrätten i Stockholms län, Sweden,
Mr. Bernard Even, Tribunal administratif de Strasbourg, France,
And Mr Giovanni Tulumello, Tribunale amministrativo Regionale della Sicilia, Italy,
as Vice Presidents of the association.
The auditors, Mr. Bengt Almebäck and Mrs. Laura Yilmaz, both declared to resign and proposals were made to have Mrs Siiri Lewis from Sweden and Mrs Liisa Judström from Finland as auditors.
The General Assembly unanimously elected both candidates as auditors.
The board nominated Dr. Ralf Höhne as treasurer and Dr. Edith Zeller as Secretary-General.
The president informed that the working group on Independence and Efficiency would meet in Beaulieu sur mer, near Nice, from Sunday, 17th October, morning, until Monday, 18th October, noon. Arrivals at the accommodation would be possible from 15th October onwards.
The topic of the meeting would mainly be dedicated to the question, whether the new Fundamental Rights Charta would lead us to new procedures before Administrative Courts and the impacts of the Charta and the above mentioned new recommendation of he Council of Europe. Funding would be possible for 18 participants of each 400 Euro maximum travel costs and 150 Euro each maximum accommodation costs.
The meeting of the working group on taxation law would take place from Tuesday, 19th October, morning until Wednesday, 20th October noon, in Beaulieu sur mer. The accommodation in Beaulieu would be closed on 21st October. Funding would be possible for 15 participants of each 400 Euro maximum travel costs and 150 Euro each maximum accommodation costs.
The representative of AGADIF/VERDIF, Mr Mariuzzo announced that on Friday, 22nd October, his organization would hold a meeting on questions of Human Rights after Lissabon. Members of AEAJ would be warmly welcomed to participate at this meeting as well.
The meeting place (which might be Murcia, Spain) and dates of the working group on environmental law would soon be fixed, as changes needed to be made because of the fixed dates for Beaulieu. Funding would be possible for 15 participants of each 400 Euro maximum travel costs and 200 Euro each maximum accommodation costs.
The dates and exact place (probably Corfu) of the above mentioned conference on Art. 8 ECHR in Greece would be finalized, possible dates would be either 24-25 September or 5-6 November 2010. Funding would be possible for 18 participants of each 400 Euro maximum travel costs and 200 Euro each maximum accommodation costs.
The General Assembly unanimously decided to empower the President to sign the funding contract with the EU Commission, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship’s funding programme, for funding for 2010.