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  • Interpretation
  • No.758【Jurisdiction when the civil law is used to request a government agency to restore land】
  • Date
  • 2017/12/22
  • Issue
    •        Should a case filed by a landowner pursuant to Article 767, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Code be a dispute arising from a relationship in private law to be adjudicated by ordinary courts, not being influenced by the fact that the means of attack and defense of the two parties involve disputes arising from a relationship in public law?
  • Holding
    •        A case filed by a landowner pursuant to Article 767, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Code is a dispute arising from a relationship in private law to be adjudicated by ordinary courts, and should not be influenced by the fact that the means of attack and defense of the two parties involve disputes arising from a relationship in public law.
  • Reasoning
    •        In the case-at-issue, the plaintiff, YEH Sui-Yuan (hereafter, the plaintiff), filed a civil case under the opening and middle sections of Article 767, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Code with the Taiwan Taoyuan District Court against the Civil Affairs Office of Bade District (the former Civil Affairs Office of Bade City before the Taoyuan City Government became a Special Municipality) for paving his own land, located in Bade District of Taoyuan City, with asphalt for public access without his consent. He asked for the removal of the asphalt surface and return of his land against the Taoyuan City Government. The Taiwan Taoyuan District Court, citing J.Y. Interpretation No. 400, held that because the plaintiff contended that his land did not meet the legal requirements of land for public use, the case implied declaring whether the land was for public use, which would be a dispute in public law. In Summary Judgment No. 860 Ruling of 2015, the Taiwan Taoyuan District Court therefore concluded that the plaintiff should seek administrative remedy and transferred the case to the Taipei High Administrative Court. This ruling was final because the parties did not appeal during the appeal period. The Taipei High Administrative Court accepted the transferred case listing it as Judgment No. 696 of 2016. The Sixth Panel of the Taipei High Administrative Court (hereafter, the Petitioner) told the plaintiff that his claim may have met the requirements of a general action for performance pursuant to Article 8, Paragraph 1 of the Administrative Litigation Act, or a declaration that the relationship of land for public use does not exist, combining a claim for the return of land according to Article 7 of the said Act. However, the plaintiff insisted his claim was based on the opening and middle sections of Article 767, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Code and the dispute was a matter of civil law. The Petitioner therefore concluded that it had no jurisdiction over the case because the plaintiff had made clear that his claim was based on the opening and middle sections of Article 767, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Code and that the case was not one of public law but of private law. Based on the issue of jurisdiction as well as on a conflict of opinion with the ruling of the Taiwan Taoyuan District Court, the Petitioner filed a petition according to Article 178 of the Administrative Litigation Act with this Court. This Court reviewed the petition and held that it met the legal requirements of a “Petition for Uniform Interpretation of Statutes and Regulations” under Article 7, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 1 of the Constitutional Interpretation Procedure Act and Article 178 of the Administrative Litigation Act, and so we accepted this petition for adjudication. Our reasoning is as follows:
      
    •        Civil trials and administrative trials are adjudicated respectively by courts of different nature. Unless otherwise provided by the law, disputes arising from relationships governed by private law shall be determined by ordinary courts; disputes arising from relationships governed by public law shall be adjudicated by administrative courts (see J.Y. Interpretations Nos. 448, 466 and 695). A claim by a landowner based on Article 767, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Code is, by nature, a dispute in private law and shall be adjudicated by an ordinary court, even though the means of attack and defense of the two parties involve disputes arising from a relationship in public law. 
      
    •        The plaintiff filed a case under the opening and middle sections of Article 767, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Code against the Taoyuan City Government asking for the removal of the asphalt surface and return of his land. We conclude that the case by its nature is a dispute arising from a relationship governed by private law and shall be adjudicated by the Taiwan Taoyuan District Court, even though the means of attack and defense of the two parties involved disputes arising from relationships in public law.
      
    • ______________________
      
    • * Translated by Yen-Chi LIU.
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