The Supreme Court rendered the 109-Tai-Shang-1952 Decision of September 3, 2020 (hereinafter, the “Decision”), holding that if a legal relationship confirmed through a court decision still cannot eliminate its unstable state, it is difficult to conclude that the legal benefit of a declaratory judgment is enjoyed.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellee stated that he had leased the property at issue as a unit owner of the condominium at issue to A Securities Company, not a party to this lawsuit. The Appellant (the community management committee) adopted a resolution during a management committee (hereinafter, the “Management Committee at Issue”) meeting that the customers of such company should not use the common elevators (hereinafter, the “Elevators at Issue”) of the condominium at issue. After the Appellee requested that the use be allowed several times, the Appellant still adopted a resolution during a meeting of the Management Committee at Issue to “prohibit the use of the elevators by business or non-specified individuals or for commercial or regular carriage of cargoes” (hereinafter, the “Resolution at Issue”), which is in violation of Article 9, Paragraph 2, Article 23, Paragraph 1 and Subparagraph 2 of Paragraph 2, and Article 36, Subparagraph 1 of the Building Administrative Law (hereinafter, the “Law”), Article 71 and Article 56, Paragraph 2, which applies by analogy, of the Civil Code. Therefore, the Appellee sought a declaratory judgment that invalidates the Resolution at Issue. The Appellant contended that since it was in charge of the shared areas of the condominium at issue in accordance with Article 10, Paragraph 2 of the Law, it could certainly restrict outsiders from using the Elevators at Issue. In addition, the Unit Owners’ Meeting of the Condominium at Issue (hereinafter, the “Unit Owners’ Meeting”) adopted a resolution that “the elevators should not be provided to business or non-specified individuals for their use or for commercial or regular carriage of cargoes” (hereinafter, the “Resolution of the Unit Owners’ Meeting at Issue”) and to recognize the Resolution at Issue retroactively. This action brought by the Appellee lacked declaratory interest.
According to the Decision, if the plaintiff in a declaratory action does not have legal interest in a declaratory judgment, such action shall not be brought. The legal interest in a declaratory judgment means that the existence of a legal relationship is not clear and that the plaintiff subjectively believes his legal status is unstable, while such unstable state can be removed via a declaratory judgment. If the unstable state cannot be eliminated even with a declaratory court judgment, it can be hardly concluded that legal interest is enjoyed under the declaratory judgment.
It was further indicated in the Decision that the fact that the Resolution of the Unit Owners’ Meeting at Issue that “the elevators should not be provided to business or non-specified individuals for their use or for commercial or regular carriage of cargoes” had been adopted was affirmed by the original trial court. In that case, if the Resolution of the Unit Owners’ Meeting at Issue is still valid, this calls into question whether the declaratory action brought by the Appellant to declare the invalidity of the resolution at issue can eliminate the unstable state. Without exploring this in detail, the original trial court was questionable when it jumped to the conclusion the Appellee enjoyed legal interest under the declaratory judgment by bringing this action. Therefore, the appeal arguments criticizing the original decision for violation of laws and regulations are not groundless. Therefore, the original decision was reversed and remanded to the Taiwan High Court.