Our team has represented a client providing media services, in a case where a complaint was brought against the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (“the LRTC”), which had adapted restrictions on the broadcasting of a television programme in the Republic of Lithuania.
The client appealed against the decision of the LRTC on the television broadcasting ban to Vilnius Regional Administrative Court. However, the court refused to hear the complaint because such decision of the LRTC (national broadcasting authority) is a normative administrative act, and private entities in general do not have the right to challenge such decisions in an administrative court.
Our team argued that the decision of the court of first instance severely violated the rights of the client to judicial protection and successfully appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, basing the appeal on EU law (EU Audio-visual Services Directive) and the practice of international judicial authorities. The case was heard by an extended panel of five judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, which completely satisfied the submitted appeal.
The extended panel of judges, forming a completely new case law, has clarified that the decisions of the LRTC related to limitations of media activity are individual administrative acts. Therefore, according to the decision of the Court, all private entities (broadcasters) have the right to challenge such administrative decisions in administrative court following the rules of ordinary judicial procedure. Thus, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania has opened the way for a further defence of rights of the client in the court.
In this way, the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court has formed an important judicial practice for the further development of national legal doctrine, giving clear explanations on the definition of characteristics of individual administrative acts, normative administrative acts and the legal nature of state authorities’ decisions to apply administrative sanctions.