e-News 2017/3



Dear colleagues,

The year 2017 has been a good one for ACA Europe. JuriFast and DecNat, the two ACA-databases, are frequently consulted and the same is true for the ACA Forum, the platform for members to meet as colleagues and discuss topics of common interest. Many colleagues have successfully participated in the exchange programme for judges and counsellors, that allows them to visit other member institutions and intimately observe their functioning and practices. It has often provided new insights and inspiration for improvements at home.

We had three successful meetings in the course of the year. It started with an inspiring expert meeting on administrative sanctions in Ljubljana on the 23-24 of March. In May we met in The Hague in a symposium on Better regulation (15 May) and our General Assembly (16 May). The third meeting was in September in Krakow to discuss public order, national security and the rights of third-country nationals in immigration and citizenship cases. In view of the fact that migration is considered by many European leaders to be one of the most complex of the many challenges we face today in Europe, the topic of the expert meeting in Poland was well chosen indeed. I would like to thank the Supreme Administrative Courts of both Slovenia and Poland once again for the inspiring meetings and warm welcome we had in Ljubliana and Krakow.

As I am writing this I am aware that the European Commission has taken further steps against the Polish Government for the infringement of the rule of law. As you know ACA shares the Commission’s concerns with regard to developments in Poland that threaten the constitutionally enshrined independence of the Polish judiciary. We fully support the Polish member of ACA, the Supreme Administrative Court, whose members have taken issue with the proposals that challenge the independence of the courts. As I expressed in my opening remarks in Krakow, the independence of the Judiciary is not only a guarantee of the rights and freedoms of Polish citizens, but it also is one of the main fundaments of the European Union and the democratic rule of law on which it is based. I was glad that by meeting in Krakow ACA-Europe stressed that the Polish judiciary is an integral part of the wider European judicial culture.

The ambitions for the year to come are as high as they were for 2017. In spring, we will once again come to The Hague (15 – 16 May) for our General Assembly and a symposium on the topic of Technology and Law. A few months later we will meet in Tallinn on the issue of Due Process. Finally at the end of the year there will be an expert meeting in Berlin about the ReNEUAL programme (2 - 4 December).

For now let me wish you and your families an inspiring Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

Piet Hein Donner
President of ACA-Europe,
Vice President of the Council of State of the Netherlands


On 18 September 2017 the seminar "Public order, national security and the rights of third - country nationals in immigration and citizenship cases" was held in the oldest building of Jagiellonian University (Collegium Maius) . The seminar was organized by Association of the Councils of State and Supreme Administrative Jurisdiction of the European Union (ACA-Europe) and Supreme Administrative Court of Poland in cooperation with the Voivodship Administrative Court in Cracow, represented by the Vice-President of this Court dr Anna Dumas. Over forty participants were present at the seminar, representing the Councils of State and the Supreme Administrative Courts from twenty EU Member States.



These decisions have been selected for you:


Request for a preliminary ruling from the Augstākā tiesa (Latvia) of June 1st, 2017 regarding the right to film police officers on duty and post the video on social media.


Judgment of the Augstākā tiesa (Latvia) of February 13, 2017 regarding the competition between newspapers subsidized by the municipality and commercial newspapers.

The Netherlands

Request for a preliminary ruling from the Raad van State (Netherlands) of September 20, 2017 on the consequences of the withdrawal of a residence permit obtained by fraud on the residence permits of the family members.

Compare with :


Judgment of the Council of State (Belgium) of August 3rd, 2017, addressing a similar issue.

Remember, the Jurifast RSS feed can be obtained at the following address: (possibility to subscribe to an RSS feed).


The forum of ACA-Europe presently has 215 members from 37 institutions.

Since the last e-news, 7 new collective questions have been asked and 11 countries actively participated by providing 48 responses: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Poland.

The following subjects have been discussed:

  • Implementation of the Promoimpressa decision (CJEU) (5 responses)
  • Reduced VAT rate for works of art and photographs (5 responses)
  • Composition of the administrative courts (9 responses)
  • Costs of the preliminary ruling proceedings (7 responses)
  • Refusal of the appointment of a judge (8 responses)
  • VAT Directive - economic activity conducted ‘independently’ (7 responses)
  • Tax liability decisions (7 responses)

Access to the forum is reserved for the members of ACA-Europe, who can register for it at the following address:

Tour of Europe

The Tour of Europe provides an analysis, in 76 points, on how the administrative justice system is organized in the different Member States of the European Union and Turkey.

Updates from Romania, the Netherlands and Germany are now available on our website.

Members who have not updated their situation since 2009 are invited to do so by contacting ACA-Europe at the following contact address:

Subsequent changes to the updated versions are also welcome.

Judge Exchange

As every year, ACA-Europe had the opportunity in 2017 to allow 12 judges from its member institutions to complete a 12-day working visit with one of them. These internships end with a report written in French or in English, the first reports 2017 have already been posted on the website of the association.

In 2018, and subject to receiving the grant from the European Commission, 18 judges will be able to participate in this exchange of judges.

The 2018 procedure has just been launched, the presidents of the member institutions were invited to announce, before 20 January 2018, possibilities of receiving candidates in their insitution. The General Secretariat will send the list of internship offers upon receipt of the 2018 grant.

Contact address:

Members' News

Belgium – Council of State – 9 June 2017

By Royal Decrees of 9 June 2017, the King appointed new Chief Justices at the Council of State for a term of five years. They took the oath on September 11, 2017.

Mr Roger STEVENS has been appointed as the First President of the Council of State. Mr Luc VERMEIRE has been appointed as the Auditor General. Mr Jacques JAUMOTTE has been appointed President of the Council of State. Mr. Eric THIBAUT has been appointed as Deputy Auditor General.

Roger Stevens

Roger Stevens holds a law degree of the University of Gent. He graduated cum laude in 1977.

From 1978 to 1986, he was employed at the Ministry of Finances – from 1978 as an Assistant Controller and from 1981 as a Deputy Advisor.

He began his career at the Council of State of Belgium as a Junior auditor (1986-1988), later on he became Auditor (1988-1994), Councillor of State (1994-2006) and chairman of the Xth Chamber (2006-2012). Roger Stevens was elected by his peers and appointed President of the Council on June 15th 2012. Now, he has been elected and appointed First President. In this capacity, he shall preside the General Assemblies of the Council of State and those of the administrative litigation division of which he is Chairman.

In addition, he was part-time assistant at the Law faculty of the Vrije Universiteit of Brussels (VUB) giving practical lessons “Constitutional Law” and “Administrative Law and Legal protection against the government”. In 1996 he was a co-founder of the “Tijdschrift voor ruimtelijke ordening en stedenbouw (TROS)”, a periodical about urban planning. Until the present day he is a member of the advisory committee. He is also Chief editor of the TROS-database, an electronic database that gathers legal doctrine and jurisprudence in the field of urban planning.

He has lectured several times on the Council of State in all its aspects and in particular on the administrative litigation division.

Bulgaria – 22 November 2017

Georgi Cholakov

The mandate of Mr. Georgi Kolev as President of the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria expired on November 22, 2017. By decision of the Supreme Judicial Council, Judge Georgi Cholakov was elected President of the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria.

Up until his election, judge Georgi Cholakov was a chairman of the Second Division of the Supreme Administrative Court and Acting Vice-President of the Court.

His legal experience goes back 26 years. In his legal career, Georgi Cholakov has worked as a judge and chairman of a district court in the town of Kotel and the town of Sliven, as a lawyer, as a notary, as an administrative judge and as deputy chairman of the Administrative Court of Sliven.

To assume the position of President of the Supreme Administrative Court, Judge Georgi Cholakov was proposed by the General Assembly of Judges of the Supreme Administrative Court, that achieved a significant majority for his nomination. In the competition for the position of President of the SAC, Judge Cholakov competed with judge Sonia Yankulova, also a judge from the SAC. With a majority of 20 out of 25 votes of the members of the Supreme Judicial Council, Judge Cholakov was elected as a President of the Supreme Administrative Court.

By Decree of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Georgi Cholakov was appointed President of the Supreme Administrative Court. His constitutional mandate starts on November 22, 2017 and will last seven years.

ACA News

Operating grant 2018-2021

On December 4th the Grant Agreement 2018 - 2021 was signed by the Secretary General and the European Commission.

We are now waiting for the approval of the budget proposal for 2018.


In this issue





Tour of Europe

Judge Exchange


Members' News

ACA News


13-14 May 2018


Colloquium and General Assembly in The Hague, The Netherlands – Technology & Law

October 2018


Seminar in Tallinn, Estonia – Due Process

2-4 December 2018


Seminar in Cologne, Germany – ReNEUAL I

12-14 May 2019


Seminar and General Assembly in Berlin, Germany


On November 11th, an invitation was sent to the members participate in the yearly transversal study. For 2017, the Board of the Association has opted to contribute to the “EU Justice Scoreboard” (“administrative justice” component). The study was based on a questionnaire consisting of 12 questions, divided into 5 groups. Each of these groups contains questions concerning one of the following topics : appointment and career of judges, discipline of judges , recusal requests regarding judges, organisation of the justice system and other. Deadline for participation was December 8th, 2017. In the coming months the results will be analyzed by a working group and a rapport will be written. This rapport will be presented during the colloquium in The Hague on May 15, 2018. At the same time, the study will be published on the website of ACA-Europe.

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Funded by the Justice programme of the European Union