Enforcement: administrative coercion, penalties and administrative fines

Enforcement is focussed on promoting compliance with legal rules or to prevent (further) breaches of these rules. If someone does not fulfil the administrative law regulations then the authorities can use various enforcement tools. An interested party can also submit an application for enforcement to the authorities. The authorities can decide following this application to proceed with enforcement. There are several enforcement tools for this which an administrative body, such as the mayor and aldermen, can use; an order for administrative coercion, order subject to a penalty and administrative penalty.

An order for administrative coercion

For example, an order for administrative coercion can be imposed if a shed has been illegally constructed, therefore without permission. The mayor and aldermen can chose to have the building demolished, if the offender does not do so within the period set. The costs incurred will then be on the account of the offender. Before one proceeds with the actual implementation of administrative coercion, the offender, subject to the exception of very urgent cases, must be informed of the decision about the breach and of the period in which the offender must personally remedy the breach.

Order subject to a penalty

An order for administrative coercion is not always the obvious choice, as is the case in regularly reoccurring or continuing breaches. In these cases it is often more effective to give the offender a period of time in which to cease the breach or to prevent the repeat of the breach. If the offender does not do so he or she will have to pay a penalty. The mayor and aldermen can therefore, also in the example mentioned earlier, chose to impose an order subject to a penalty. If the illegal shed is not demolished, the offender will be obliged to pay a penalty payment for each week that the structure continues to stand. The order subject to a penalty as well as the order for administrative coercion are remedial sanctions. Although they are usually experienced as financially damaging and punishing, the primary objective of these sanctions is to terminate the breach. Administrative coercion and a penalty payment cannot be imposed at the same time; the administrative body must therefore choose.

Administrative fine

Contrary to the remedial sanctions of an order for administrative coercion and an order subject to a penalty, the administrative penalty is a punishing sanction. The administrative fine is only exceptionally imposed when environmental law is breached and the consequences cannot, or not easily, be reversed; for example, in the event of illegal felling of a tree. In addition to the administrative fine, there are also other punishing sanctions, such as the entire or partial withdrawal of a favourable decision. However, in practice by far the most use is made of the administrative fine to punish breaches through the administrative law. The property specialists of AK Advocaten have a wealth of experience in remedial sanctions, orders for administrative coercion and orders subject to a penalty as well as the administrative fine as punishing sanction. If you are confronted with enforcement, also for example after a period permitted by the authorities, in most cases the possibilities of notice of objection and appeal are open to you. It is important to contact us in a timely manner, because in most cases a final deadline of six weeks applies for the notice of objection or lodging of an appeal. Our lawyers can advise you about the possibilities and assist you in creating the best possible situation. We can also assist you during any consultation or represent you in the process of court proceedings. Please contact us. Property Law