e-News 2020/2



Photograph: Michael Moser

Dear colleagues,

Originally, the two-year German Presidency of ACA-Europe was to end in May 2020 with a General Assembly; my Italian colleague, Filippo Patroni Griffi, President of the Italian Consiglio di Stato, would then have opened this newsletter with his own introductory remarks. The COVID-19 pandemic has set us on a different track. This is why we decided to extend the German Presidency by one year. We hope that this will allow us to conduct the General Assembly and the Colloquium – originally planned for May 2020 and cancelled due to the crisis – on 31 May / 1 June 2021. It will also allow the Italian colleagues to realise their interesting projects from autumn 2021 onwards, instead of from autumn 2020, possibly without still having to take into account the currently unavoidable travel and contact restrictions.

The postponement of these projects by one year by no means implies that ACA-Europe will be idle in the meantime. The project group of our member institutions' documentation services, for instance, has continued its work on the redesign of the "jurifast" database which is intended to be finalised with a documentation seminar, also in Leipzig, in March 2021. The objective here was not only to modernise the "jurifast" database, to improve searchability and to adapt the design to current requirements and expectations. At the same time, the ACA-Europe database is to be incorporated into the framework of other databases in Europe operated by the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg and by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The postponement due to the pandemic has also made it possible to publicly present the findings of the 2019 series of seminars in book form. A part of the programme of the German Presidency had been to compare the functions and working methods of the Supreme Administrative Courts in Europe from an internal perspective – one may say from the "engine rooms" of our member courts. For this purpose, ACA-Europe conducted three seminars in Dublin, in Berlin and in Brno in 2019, each of which saw intensive participation and active cooperation by almost all member institutions. They produced a variety of extremely interesting findings that cannot be found in a book. This is why we decided to supplement the General Reports prepared during the three seminars with a summarising introduction, and to publish them in three languages – in English, French and German. The book is in the process of preparation and will be published by C.H. Beck (Munich) in 2021. We can all look forward to it.

Let us hope that we will all get back to some sort of new normality in 2021. For ACA, the hope is that the Colloquium and the General Assembly in Leipzig in May/June 2021 will be able to take place in the usual manner. This would make it possible to finalise the other series of seminars which also constitutes a part of the German Presidency's programme, namely dealing with the project of elaborating model rules on administrative procedure at the level of the European Union's own authorities and agencies (ReNEUAL). This project could generate significant impetus for further development and, at the same time, also for a convergence of the relevant national legal systems.

With kind regards

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

Seminars and Colloquium

Considering the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertain evolution of its impact in the last quarter of 2020, the board has decided to postpone the seminars and the colloquium originally planned for 2020 to 2021.

As a result of the above decision, the seminar on legal documentation will take place from 10 to 12 March in Leipzig. The colloquium ReNEUAL II is rescheduled to 31 May on the same location. Two more seminars are scheduled at the end of the year. The Fiesole seminar ‘Law, Courts and Guidelines for the Public Administration’ is now planned for autumn 2021. Finally, the seminar on ‘Judicial review of regulatory acts of independent administrative authorities‘ will be organised in Paris in December 2021. Subscriptions for these activities have not yet started. The general secretariat will inform the ACA-Europe members as soon as registration is possible.


These decisions have been selected for you:


Judgment of May 19, 2020

This ruling concerns the question of an assessment of the effects of a plan or project on a special environmental protection area (Natura).

Two environmental organizations have appealed to the Supreme Court to challenge the plan determining the location of a rail line. Among the grievances presented by the plaintiffs, the Supreme Court considered important the argument concerning the Natura bird area, which the proposed rail line was not intended to cross, but to travel about 100 meters.

The Supreme Court did not consider it correct, when assessing the environmental impact of the railway route, to make a distinction between the direct and indirect effects of the railway. Based on the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice, the Supreme Court held that the preliminary assessment of Natura must analyze the situation of the Natura site and any changes that may occur as a result of the proposed activity. The Supreme Court also stressed that the mitigation measures of the project on the Natura area should not be considered in the pre-assessment phase of the project. The Supreme Court also explained the substantive requirements for the Natura assessment and the shortcomings of the assessment so far.


Decision of June 30, 2020

This judgment concerns the principle of publicity and its modalities in the awarding of public contracts according to the procedure of drawing lots.


Decision of June 17, 2020

The Federal Court has been asked to rule on the inadmissibility of an asylum application on the basis of the refugee status already granted in Bulgaria to a candidate refugee in Germany. Preliminary questions have been submitted to the Court of Justice. Following their answer, the Federal Court held that a safe third country within the meaning of the provisions concerned in the present case is a safe third country, i.e. a state that is not a member of the European Union.

It also held that the systemic deficiencies of the asylum procedure in the member state of first recognition, in this case Bulgaria, and the fact that the living conditions of the recognized beneficiaries of protection in this state are certainly not in conformity with the relevant provisions of Directive 2011/95/EU, but that this does not lead to a violation of Art. 4 GRC and therefore does not preclude a decision of inadmissibility.


Decision of June 24, 2020

The Council of State referred questions to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling concerning the decision of the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs to designate four persons as persons subject to anti-terrorist sanctions. Following the Court's ruling, the Minister withdrew his decision.

One of the four persons wanted to continue the proceedings before the Council of State because he felt that the Minister should never have designated him on the EU terrorist list under these anti-terrorist rules. Following reasoning on the conditions for designation as a person or organization involved in terrorist activities, the Council of State held that the applicant's designation under the anti-terrorist rules was unjustified and that, therefore, the Minister could not have imposed financial sanctions on him.



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 send 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 206 members from 34 institutions.

Since the last e-news, 9 new collective questions have been asked and 12 countries have actively participated with 50 answers: Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Hungary, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.

The following topics were discussed:

  • Information regarding proceedings per art. 258 TFEU (3 answers)
  • Profitable activity of judges (10 answers)
  • Data Protection (definition of personal data) (10 answers)
  • Aarhus Convention (2 answers)
  • Review of Cilfit criteria - Hearing at the ECJ (15 Jul. 2020) (5 answers)
  • Examination of applications for international protection (Articles 2(I) 12(1) Dublin Regulation) (7 answers)
  • Directive 2003/88/EC and prisoners in detention (5 answers)
  • Stamp duty issues (8 answers)
  • Council of State advice about the fundamental and constitutional law aspects of (planned) Dutch Covid-19 measures

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

On 7 September 2020, the Board of ACA-Europe decided to continue the implementation of the exchange programme for judges in 2020 as far as the health context permits and subject to the agreement of all parties concerned. The secretariat general will contact the institutions involved as well as the participants to find out for each internship whether it can take place.

Laureates of the 2020 exchange programme who are unable to complete their internship will be given priority in 2021.

For more information:

Members' News

Greece – Council of State

Irene Evelyn Michaela Mary Sharpe

Irene Evelyn Michaela Mary Sharpe was born in Kalamata, in the Peloponnese. She obtained her Master of Laws at the Faculty of Law of the University of Athens in 1977. She was appointed, after a comparative exam, to the Council of State as an Auditor in 1980, and was subsequently promoted to the rank of Master of Requests (1985), Counsellor of State (1997) and Vice-President (2011). In July 2020 the Council of Ministers appointed her as President of the Council of State. As Vice-President, for several years she chaired the second section of the Council, which deals (in litigation) with tax matters and pre-contractual summary proceedings in the case of supply contracts.

Member of the Special Supreme Court (Art. 100 of the Constitution) - During the period 2013-2020 she presided over the Court as stipulated by art. 88 para. 2 of the Constitution (Court that hears cases concerning the remuneration of magistrates). During her study leave (1995-1996) she attended courses in public law at the University of Paris II. She taught for more than ten years at the National School of Magistracy.

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

General Assembly and Presidency

The General Assembly which was planned in May 2020 is postponed to 1 June 2021. As a result and as mentioned in the editorial, the German presidency is exceptionally extended by 1 year.

Grant 2021

The programme and budget for 2021, as approved by the Board, have been submitted by the General Secretariat. We are now waiting for approval by the European Commission.

In this issue


Seminars and colloquium



Tour of Europe

Judge Exchange


Members' News

ACA News


10-12 March 2021


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

31 May 2021


Colloquium in Leipzig, Germany – ReNEUAL II

1 June 2021


General Assembly in Leipzig, Germany

Autumn 2021


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

December 2021


Seminar in Paris, France – Judicial review of regulatory acts of independent administrative authorities

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


As decided by the Board, a working group was launched to contribute to the EU Justice Scoreboard 2021. The topic for this year is: “The Supreme Administrative Courts in times of COVID-19 crisis – a lesson learned.”

A first meeting on 14 September was dedicated to making agreements on the scope of the analysis, a methodology for the questionnaire, a division of the workload and a timetable.

During a second meeting on 12 October, the questionnaire will be finalised. If all goes well, it will be sent to the Members in mid-November.


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