Preventing Harm: Interim Protection as an Aspect of Effective Judicial Protection
Keywords:interim protection, interim relief, preliminary protection, suspensive effect, interim measure, administrative justice
Interim protection, together with other fair trial guarantees, helps to achieve the effective protection of rights in administrative justice proceedings. Under the Czech Code of Administrative Justice, interim protection is represented by two instruments, namely interim measures and suspensive effect. They have in common that they both protect the applicant from the risk of harm of considerable intensity. The decision on interim protection is a solution to the conflict between the applicant’s interest in prompt and effective protection against the contested act, on the one hand, and, on the other, the requirement to protect legal certainty, the stability of legal relations and the acquired rights and good faith of the other parties. The paper aims to cover the purpose and role of the institutes of interim protection in administrative justice, focusing on the substantive condition of imminent harm. In order to achieve this, it analyses a sample of decisions by the Supreme Administrative Court granting interim protection between 2019 and 2021. Analysis of the case law shows that five main categories can be distinguished in which the Supreme Administrative Court usually finds the imminent harm to be sufficiently serious. These relate to cases concerning foreign nationals (usually third-country nationals seeking residence or asylum), disproportionally high fines or tax obligations, withdrawal of driving licence, removal of constructions and disclosure of information requested through the Act on Free Access to Information.