The petitioners, Yung-Huang Chueh, Wei-Peng Wang, Tsung-Ming Chang, Cheng-Chi Pan, and Hsin-Yu Hsiao, filed a petition for this Court’s supplemental interpretation to the Court’s Interpretation No. 156, on whether it is permitted to challenge in the administrative court the “Case of Public Facilities Reservation in Taipei City’s Urban Planning (Comprehensive Review)”, which was implemented by the Fu-Gong-Second-Zi Announcement No. 81086893 of Taipei City Government on December 14, 1992 (hereinafter referred to as “the urban plan at issue.”) The urban plan at issue required that the petitioners-owned land, whose designated use was changed from Institutional Land to the Third Category Residential Area when the Academia Sinica relinquished its reservation of land, should set aside 30% of its area for public facilities, and the mandatory vacant lots should accordingly also be grouped together in one place. The petitioners thus suffered economic losses. Based on that petition, this Court issued Interpretation No. 742 (hereinafter referred to as “the Interpretation at issue”), which reads as follows: "a periodic Comprehensive Review of the urban plan conducted by competent urban plan formulating authorities ...... when a specific part thereof either directly restricts the rights and privileges of specific individuals within a certain region or of an identifiable group of individuals, or imposes additional obligations on such individuals, based on the constitutional principle of ubi jus ibi remedium (“where there is a right, there must be a remedy”), the said individuals should be allowed to seek redress for the infringement imposed by that specific part by filing an administrative appeal or initiating court proceedings in an administrative court.” Although the Supreme Administrative Court, in its Judgment 107-Pan-487 (2018) (hereinafter as “the final judgment,”) applied the Interpretation at issue and found that there were grounds for a retrial, it still denied the motion for a retrial and sustained the original final judgment in dismissing the petitioners’ appeal, based on the following: The urban plan at issue was announced on December 14, 1992 and the statutory period for filing an administrative appeal should be counted from the 15th of the same month of the same year. However, the petitioners filed the appeal on October 17, 2013, which was obviously beyond the statutory period for filing administrative appeals for relief.
If a party has doubts about the Court’s Interpretation that was applied in the final decision and files a petition for a supplementary interpretation, and it is verified that there is obscure wording, insufficient reasoning in the Interpretation, or other legitimate grounds for such a petition, the petition shall be granted (see the Court’s Interpretation No. 784). The petitioners claim that it is still doubtful whether the result of the Interpretation at issue that was applied in the final judgment is in compliance with the protection of the people’s right to administrative appeal and the right to judicial remedy guaranteed by Article 16 of the Constitution, questioning how to count the statuary period for filing a remedy whereby “the said individuals should be allowed to seek redress for the infringement imposed by that specific part by filing an administrative appeal or initiating court proceedings in an administrative court” with regard to the periodic comprehensive review of the urban plan conducted by the competent urban plan formulating authorities. As such, the petitioners filed the petition for a supplementary interpretation to the Interpretation at issue. As we have verified that there are legitimate grounds, the petition shall be granted, we hereby issue this Interpretation with the following reasons:
The interpretations issued by this Court has binding effect for all governmental agencies and people of the country. The governmental agencies shall follow the interpretations when dealing with relevant matters. An interpretation issued by this Court in response to people's petition shall also be applicable to the original case on which a petitioner’s petition based (see the Court's Interpretations No. 177 and No. 185). The petitioner of the original case shall be able to exercise his or her rights according to the favorable interpretation from the date of publication of the interpretation so as to conform to the Constitution in protecting the people's right to judicial remedy and to recognize his or her contribution in upholding the Constitution (see this Court’s Interpretations No. 725, No. 741, and No. 757).
Before the announcement of the Interpretation at issue, there was no legal basis for people to file an administrative appeal or initiate court proceedings in an administrative court for relief from the periodic comprehensive review of the urban plan conducted by the competent urban plan formulating authorities. Therefore, even if the petitioners did not file an administrative appeal within the statutory period after the announcement of the urban plan at issue, the petitioners could not be held accountable under the circumstances of the laws that applied at that time. Furthermore, the urban plan at issue was statutory in nature. Even if the content of the announcement was objectively accessible to the petitioners at the time of the announcement, it is difficult to expect that, before the announcement of our Interpretation at issue, they would be able to understand that the periodic comprehensive review of the urban plan, besides appearing to be aregulation, comprised specific items that were actually administrative dispositions and were subject to timely judicial review.
The Interpretation at issue ordered: "The legislature should amend relevant laws and regulations within two years from the announcement of this Interpretation, so as to enable the people to seek redress by initiating court proceedings against unlawful urban plans that they see as detrimental to their rights or lawful interests.” The Legislative Yuan therefore amended and promulgated the provisions of Article 98-5 and Article 263 of the Administrative Court Procedure Act, and added and promulgated the provisions of Article 237-18 to Article 237-31 and Part II, Chapter V of the Administrative Court Procedure Act entitled “Urban Planning Review Procedure,” which came into effect on July 1, 2020, in order to implement the Interpretation at issue (see pages 104 to 108 of the Minutes of the 103rd session in Volume 108 of the Legislative Yuan Gazette and the attached chart of comparison of the changed provisions). The issuance of the interpretation at issue was the result of the petitioners’ petition for a supplementary interpretation to J.Y. Interpretation No. 156, which has led to the amendment of the Administrative Court Procedure Act and the addition of a dedicated chapter on urban planning review procedures, all have indeed contributed in upholding the Constitution.The petitioners then filed a motion for a retrial of the original case in accordance with the Interpretation at issue, but the motion was denied on the ground that the statutory period for filing an administrative appeal had lapsed. However, before the announcement of the Interpretation at issue, the petitioners’ original case was in a situation where there was no administrative relief available. Only since the announcement of the Interpretation at issue could the petitioners challenge the urban plan at issue. If the petitioners were required to file an administrative appeal against the urban plan at issue within 30 days of the announcement, it would impose an excessive obligation and procedural burden on them, which is insufficient in protecting the people's rights to administrative appeal and judicial remedy. Still, the Interpretation at issue did not cover this matter. In order to protect the people's rights to administrative appeal and judicial remedy, and in line with the Court's intention to encourage petitioners to file constitutional petitions, the Interpretation at issue shall be supplemented as follows: The motion for a retrial filed by the petitioners within 30 days from the date of announcement of the Interpretation at issue is deemed to have been filed with the appellate authority within the statutory period for filing an administrative appeal.
After the announcement of this Interpretation, the petitioners may initiate a retrial of the final judgment in this Interpretation in accordance with this Interpretation, and the relevant authorities shall follow this Interpretation with respect to the petitioners’ compliance with the statutory period for filing an administrative appeal for the urban plan at issue.
*Translated by Hsiu-Yu FAN