In his conclusion of 24 January 2018, advocate general Widdershoven concluded in an important matter for the enforcement practice that an administrative warning based on a statutory provision is a decision under the General Administrative Law Act (GAL) if it forms an ‘essential and inseparable part’ of the sanctions regime, because it is a condition for the imposition of a (heavier) sanction (fine, order subject to a penalty, instruction, etc.) in the event of a subsequent violation. Legal protection against this warning is therefore possible. This does not automatically apply to warnings based on policy rules and informal warnings. However, such warnings can, under certain circumstances, be equated with decisions under the GAL, so that an objection and appeal may be lodged against them as well. If the Administrative Jurisdiction Division follows this view, it will be a breach of its established case law that no legal protection is available against warnings. Should the Division follow this conclusion, it will have consequences for the enforcement practice of many supervisors. It is expected that the often existing practice whereby companies, institutions and their managers, who are confronted with a statutory warning, are told by the administrative authority that they cannot object to the warning, will come to an end.
The full blog post is written in Dutch.
Date: 6 February 2018
Author: Christien Saris