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  • Interpretation
  • No.275
  • Date
  • 1991/03/08
  • Issue
    • Does the Administrative Court*s Precedent which states that neither intent nor negligence is essential to establish liability for the imposition of administrative penalty contradict the Constitution?
  • Holding
    •        Where an act violates a statutory duty and is thus subject to administrative penalty, and where the law does not specify otherwise, then although intent may not necessarily be an essential condition for establishing the offender*s liability, negligence would be one such condition. An act subject to administrative penalties however, need not cause damage or danger, but need merely violate a prohibitive regulation or a legal duty to act. Such an act must be presumed negligent, and the offender shall be penalized if he/she cannot produce evidence proving a lack of negligence. The Administrative Court*s Precedent P.T. No. 30 (Ad. Ct., 1973) states, "Neither intent nor negligence is essential to conditions for establishing liability for the imposition of administrative penalties." Precedent P.T. No. 350 of the same Court in the same year states, "The establishment of acts constituting an administrative offence does not rely on intent as a condition for liability. The cause of the false declarations regarding the degrees of quality and the value of the goods therefore, is not a matter of concern." Those parts of the above precedents that fail to conform to the meaning of the above are contrary to the spirit of the constitutional purpose of protecting people*s rights, and shall subsequently cease to apply.
  • Reasoning
    •        Administrative penalties imposed on those who violate statutory duties are a type of sanction against the people. The general principle is that an offender should have a cause of liability attributable to him. In the event that the law fails to specify, however, then even if intent may not be a condition for liability, negligence would be one such condition. For the purpose of ensuring the realization of administrative goals while safeguarding people*s rights, an act need only violate prohibitive regulations or a legal duty to act in order to be subject to administrative penalties. Such an act must be presumed to be negligent, and the offender shall be punished unless he can produce evidence proving the lack of such negligence. The Administrative Court*s Precedent P.T. No. 30 (Ad. Ct., 1973) states, "Neither intent nor negligence is essential to conditions for establishing liability for the imposition of administrative penalties." Precedent P.T. No. 350 of the same Court in the same year states, "The establishment of acts constituting administrative offences does not rely on intent as a condition of liability. The cause of the false declarations regarding the degrees of quality and the value of the goods therefore, is not a matter of concern." The opinions in the above Precedents are too broad and vague. Therefore, those parts of the above Precedents that fail to conform to the meaning of the above are contrary to the constitutional essence of protecting people*s rights, and should subsequently cease to apply.
      
    • *Translated by John C. Chen, Attorney at Law.
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