e-News 2020/1



Photograph: Michael Moser

Dear colleagues,

In these weeks and months, the coronavirus pandemic is defining the lives of practically everyone worldwide. We are having to recognise that the laws of nature do not bend to our wants and wishes – on the contrary, they set the conditions and limits for our actions. And we are experiencing that experts on these laws of nature – scientists and medical doctors – are showing us these conditions and limits; anyone wanting to ignore their instructions is acting irresponsibly.

This is currently determining the conditions of our work in the judiciary. It is clear that the courts must continue to do their job, even and especially in the days of the crisis. But we must also protect all parties involved. This means that suddenly, court sessions are subject to the requirement to maintain distance; it is strange for three or five judges to be sitting side by side on the bench with a distance of 1.5 meters between each of them, not to mention the same distance between lawyers and their clients or thinned-out rows of spectators. And this is strengthening the general trend towards virtual courtrooms; oral hearings are increasingly taking place by means of video conferences. It remains an open question whether that will be reversed again after the crisis is over or will prove to be its lasting effect.

Of course, the special measures being taken to contain and slow down the pandemic affect not only the judiciary, but all areas of life. Many people are being severely disrupted in their routines: shopping in a supermarket or boutique, going to concerts or football matches, or attending a Sunday church service. These routines reflect civil liberties, and legal action is being taken to claim these rights before us administrative law judges: the right to freedom of movement, freedom of occupation and gainful activity, freedom of religion. It is up to us to judge whether the weight of the imminent health threats justifies restricting these freedoms and whether the principle of proportionality requires graduations, and one does not need to have a prophetic gift to predict that we will have to add a new dimension to the arsenal of the principle of proportionality: the dimension of time, of duration.

The requirement of avoiding closeness and maintaining distance also limits public communication. Assemblies may not take place, and party and trade union conferences and meetings are being postponed or transferred to virtual communication spaces where those who are less technically adept – especially older people – cannot take part on an equal footing. Elections, too, are being postponed, postal votes are being organised and terms of office extended. In short, our public life is changing. This change will presumably outlast the crisis, and will certainly leave permanent marks. That is also something we will have to deal with as administrative law judges.

All these matters are questions we are all facing to an equal extent. We should therefore discuss them not only in our own national contexts, but also across national borders Union-wide. ACA-Europe should address this issue. It could be the subject of the next “transversal analysis”.

The crisis has also changed the usual greeting – at least in Germany. People now greet each other with the wish: "Stay well!" So my greeting to you is also in this spirit:

Stay well!

Klaus Rennert
President of ACA-Europe,
President of the Federal Administrative Court of Germany

Seminar and Colloquium

In relation to the ongoing global pandemic, ACA-Europe, in consultation with the European Commission, decided to suspend all international activities as a precautionary measure.

By decision of the Presidency, both the seminar on legal documentation and the colloquium have been postponed, the seminar to 14-16 October 2020 and the colloquium to 30 November 2020. After further evaluation at the next meeting of the Board, a final decision on the actual organisation of these events on the aforementioned dates will be taken. Registration for these activities will therefore be suspended until then. This is also the case for the registration for the Fiesole seminar, scheduled for 19 October 2020.

For the reimbursement of travel expenses, you are advised to contact your travel agency or airline / railway company. If reimbursement cannot be obtained through the service provider, you are requested to send proof of your reservation and payment, as well as proof that the service provider refuses the reimbursement to The reimbursement from ACA-Europe is limited to the usual 275€.


These decisions have been selected for you:


Judgement of 29 April 2020

This judgment is the following of a preliminary ruling form The Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State (Division) who asks the ECJ whether the processing and storage of biometric data in the alien administration of two Turkish nationals is in accordance with European rules and with the Association Agreement between Europe and Turkey.

The ECJ has not answered the question from the Division whether making biometric data available to third parties for purposes of prevention, detection and investigation of offences - whether or not of a terrorist nature - constitutes a restriction for Turkish nationals, or whether that possibility is too uncertain and indirect to be a restriction. However, in the ECJ’s arguments for not answering this question and in the position of the Advocate General at ECJ, the Division sees confirmation of its assessment that there is no restriction.


Judgment of 30 march 2020

An applicant challenged in the Administrative Jurisdiction the provision adopted by the Mayor of an municipality of Calabro in the implementation of regional measures imposing on him the order of home isolation.

The first instance judge denied the precautionary measure.

The party appealed to the Council of State who rejected the request, highlighting that the challenged provision protects a collective good, public health, that is of absolute importance and prevalent over all other interests, especially if private


Judgment of 10 April 2020

The Council of State of Belgium, in a judgment of 10 April 2020, rejected the request for suspension of the closure of an establishment decided on the basis of the exceptional measures adopted because of Covid 19. The particularity of this judgment lies, among other things, in the fact that the hearing was held remotely via Skype.



We also invite you to take note of the initiative of ACA-Europe concerning the case law of national courts of justice relating to COVID-19. The objective is to gather this jurisprudence and make it accessible to all. You will find these decisions on JuriFast.

As a correspondent, as previously requested, we invite you to inform ACA-Europe of the decisions taken concerning COVID19 at the following address:, or to post a message on the ACA Forum.

ACA-Europe reminds its members that it is very important that follow-up decisions (national decisions following a judgment of the Court of Justice in a preliminary ruling) are systematically introduced in JuriFast when the national decision asking the question is included in the database.

At the same time, the ECJ asks ACA-Europe to inform its members so that they systematically send all follow-up decisions directly to the Court at the address of the functional mailbox

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


The forum of ACA-Europe currently has 202 members from 34 institutions.

Since the last e-news, 23 new collective questions have been asked and 16 countries have actively participated with 114 answers: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.

The following topics were discussed about COVID-19:

  • Crise COVID 19
  • Czech rulings on emergency measures
  • French rulings on emergency measures (9 answers)
  • COVID-19 crisis – Dublin Regulation - Transfer of foreign nationals to Italy
  • COVID-19 crisis: Right to be heard in Court
  • COVID-19 crisis: Absence of public pronouncement of judgments
  • Dutch ruling on emergency measures regarding COVID-19
  • No Hearings at the Court because of COVID-19 / Detention illegal third country nationals (4 answers)

The following other topics were discussed:

  • Detention third-country nationals: arguments appellant / ex officio review by Court
  • International protection for EU citizen with dual citizenship (7 answers)
  • ‘Best interests’ assessment of minors (Article 8(1) Dublin III Regulation) (6 answers)
  • Returning asylum seeker to Kabul (7 answers)
  • VAT-right of access to a document (5 answers)
  • Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection
  • Returning persons to Hungary, Subsidiary protection, Living conditions (7 answers)
  • Judicial Protection of Administrative Authorities (7 answers)
  • Rules of creation of the administrative courts (the organisation of courts and territorial division of state) (10 answers)
  • General Data Protection and court proceeding (9 answers)
  • VAT deduction - burden of proof (8 answers)
  • jurisdiction of "prisoners' cases" (12 answers)
  • Judicial review of procedural decisions (7 answers)
  • Implementation of the safeguard clause - Regulation on cosmetic products (6 answers)

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 organised in the different Member States of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Serbia and Montenegro

In order to obtain the objectives, defined in the specific agreement between ACA-Europe and the European Commission, within the scope of the subvention granted by the European Union, members are warmly invited to update the information for their country by contacting the ACA-Europe team at the following email address:

Subsequent changes to the updated versions are also welcome.

Judge Exchange

In 2020, ACA-Europe has, once again, the opportunity to allow 18 judges from its member institutions to participate for 12 days in the activities of another Supreme Administrative Court in an eligible country or in the CJEU. These internships are rounded off with a report written in English or French, that will be published, after depersonalisation, on the ACA-Europe website.

ACA-Europe has received a total of 29 applications for these 18 vacancies. The Secretary-General rejoices about the success of the exchange program!

The Board approved the list of the 18 participants to the judges exchange programme and tasked the general secretary with allocating the vacant posts to the applicants selected. However, it was agreed that the implementation of the programme is subject to a decision of the Board, which will be taken at the meeting of the Board in September.

The selected candidates can contact their host court, but the actual implementation has been suspended for the time being. No exchanges can take place pending the Board’s decision at the beginning of September.

For more information:

Members' News

Greece – Council of State

Athanassios RANTOS

Mr Athanassios RANTOS was nominated President of the Greek Council of State. He succeeds Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou who was elected by the Hellenic Parliament as President of Greece on 22 January 2020.

Mr. Athanassios (Nassos) Rantos was born in Athens in 1953. He received a master degree from the law faculty of the University of Athens (1976). After a comparative exam, he was appointed as an Auditor to the Council of State in 1979 and subsequently promoted to the rank of Master of Requests in 1984, Counsellor in 1996, and Vice-President in 2009. In February 2020 the Council of Ministers appointed him as President of the Council of State.

As vice-president, he presided the 5th section of the Council for several years, which deals with environmental and urban planning issues and is responsible for issuing opinions on the legality of draft decrees. During a study leave, he obtained a postgraduate degree in European law from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (1990). Chairman or member of several legislative commissions, he has taught public law at the National School of Public Administration and, for twenty years, European law and environmental law at the National School for the Judiciary.

Luxemburg – Council of State


On 1st of April 2019, Agnès DURDU was nominated as President of The Council of State of Luxemburg.

Ms. Durdu is Master in Law as well as holder of a D.E.A. in European law. From 1994 until 2003 she was a member of the Lower House, an office she combined with that of mayor of the municipality of Wicrange. From 2000 until 2017 she was a member of the European Comittee of the Regions. In 2006 Ms. Durdu was nominated Counsellor to the Luxemburg Council of State. Subsequently, she was nominated Vice-President in 2015.

United Kingdom – Supreme Court

Robert John REED

Robert John REED, Lord Reed of Allemuir took up appointment as President of The Supreme Court on 13 January 2020, succeeding Lady Hale of Richmond.

Prior to his appointment as President, Lord Reed previously served as Deputy President of The Supreme Court from 7 June 2018 and was originally appointed as a Justice on 6 February 2012.

He studied law at Edinburgh University and undertook doctoral research in law at the University of Oxford. He qualified as an advocate in Scotland and as a barrister in England. He practised at the Scottish Bar in a wide range of civil cases, and also prosecuted serious crime.

He served as a senior judge in Scotland for 13 years. From 2008 to 2012 a member of the Inner House of the Court of Session, and from 1998 to 2008 a member of the Outer House of the Court of Session, where he was the Principal Commercial Judge.

As well as sitting on the Supreme Court and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, he is also a member of the panel of ad hoc judges of the European Court of Human Rights, and is a Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong. He is also the Visitor of Balliol College, Oxford.


As of 15 March, Lord CARNWATH retired from the Supreme Court.

For many years, Lord Carnwath has been a welcome guest at several ACA-Europe activities being the contact person for the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. His dedication and commitment has been very much appreciated. The Secretariat General wants to express its sincere gratitude for his loyal support and congratulates Lord Carnwath on his retirement.

Do you have an announcement that you would like to share with your colleagues from ACA Europe - e.g. a new chairman has been appointed or elected, an important change has taken place in the functioning of your institution or your institution is organizing an (international) seminar - do not hesitate to contact us!

ACA News

Specific Agreement 2019

On 4 May 2020, the European Commission informed the General Secretariat that the final report on the implementation of Specific Agreement 846667 was accepted.

The European Commission acknowledges that “the network has contributed to better knowledge of EU law among its members as well as a broader audience, and to its consistent implementation in the Member States. It has further deepened trust between the judges of the Supreme Administrative Courts and facilitated sharing experience and exchanging views on issues related to EU law.” The Commission thanks the Association for the good cooperation.

Presidency 2020-2022

As the safety instructions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic have had a serious impact on the normal functioning of the Association, we would like to give you an overview of the decisions taken with regard to certain activities.

As the aforementioned safety instructions prevented the physical meeting of the Board as scheduled on 10 May 2020, in Leipzig, the President decided to ask the written agreement of the members of the Board, on those items that couldn’t await the physical meeting in Brussels in September 2020, in accordance with article 10 of our Statutes.

The Board decided to postpone the meeting of the General Assembly sine die, no new date has been set yet. After further evaluation at the next meeting of the Board in September, a final decision will be taken in this respect. If the General Assembly should not meet this year, the next General Assembly will meet ipso jure on the occasion of the 2021 Colloquium.

As a result of the decision to postpone the General Assembly, the Presidency and the composition of the Board will remain unchanged until the next meeting of the General Assembly.

Dissemination of the ACA-E-news

In order to obtain the objectives defined in the specific agreement between ACA-Europe and the European Commission, and within the scope of the subvention granted by the European Union, ACA-Europe developed a strategy for broader dissemination of the ACA-Europe newsletter. This strategy was approved by the Board in its Berlin meeting of 12 May 2019 and discussed in the General Assembly.

Over the past year, the first phase of this strategy was launched. This phase focuses on a more direct and purposeful dissemination of our newsletter. With the help of its members, ACA-Europe set out to build a network to reach the national courts of all the member states.

Many of you have provided us with contact details in order for the newsletter to be distributed directly by the General Secretariat to the national administrative courts. Others have decided to forward the newsletter themselves. If you have not already done so, may we ask you to send us the strategy you wish to follow for the broader dissemination of the ACA e-News newsletter to the national administrative courts in your country? You can contact us at the following email address:

Content management

ACA-Europe has a new content manager, Ms. Tessel Adriaensens who succeeds Benny De Sutter. We would like to thank Benny for his dedication and wish him success in his new position as Auditor to the Belgian Council of State.

In this issue


Seminar and colloquium



Tour of Europe

Judge Exchange


Members' News

ACA News


14-16 October 2020


Seminar in Leipzig, Germany – Harmonising Administrative Legal Documentation in Europe

19 October 2020


Seminar in Fiesole, Italy – Law, Courts and guidelines for the public administration

30 November 2020


Seminar in Leipzig, Germany – ReNEUAL II

For a complete overview of the calendar, see our website.

Analysis 2019-2020

On the occasion of ACA-Europe’s application to the European Commission for a four-year grant, the Association was invited to consider an annual survey on the collection, analysis, exchange and dissemination of information, good practices and recommendations on various topics of EU law.

For 2019, the Board opted to contribute to the ‘EU justice scoreboard’ (“administrative justice” component), with a “Qualitative and Quantitative Review of the 2019 seminars.”

In recent months, data was collected among our members and analysed by the members of the working group.

Once finalised, the report will be published on the website and sent to all members.

For 2020, the Board decided to continue to contribute to the ‘EU justice scoreboard’ (“administrative justice” component), on the following topic:

“The Supreme Administrative Courts in times of COVID-19 crisis – a lesson learned”

In the agenda of the board, this theme was presented as follows:

“All the ACA-Europe Members are now facing the COVID-19 pandemic. It is an enormous challenge for all judges and staff of the courts in Europe. We are aware that this pandemic will also affect our professional activity in the future. Unfortunately, some experts say there is a strong possibility that such pandemics may reoccur.

As much as possible, our activity has been adjusted to the current situation. For example, it is not unusual to have online deliberations in order to decide urgent cases, work is carried out via teleworking and/or distance working etc. There are a number of questions however that have arisen: How can the courts, judges and the courts’ staff organize their work in the times of emergency? These are not just technicalities. What about the right to a public hearing? Can we decide cases only in camera because of a risk of conducting public hearing and spreading the virus? How can we communicate using the internet with the risk of activity hackers and not being tapped? How to ensure equal treatment of the parties to the procedure since vulnerable groups, due to age or destitution for example, may have limited access to internet?

These and many other problems have to be addressed in times of emergency such as we are facing now. Many ACA Members have gained their own expertise as to how to cope with the current situation. Best practice sharing is needed now and for the future. The working group may present the analysis and identify the difficulties or problems encountered by judges and it may facilitate exchanging the expertise already gained. Furthermore, there is also a need to share national case law concerning the current COVID-19 crisis and to make it accessible to all our members.”


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