The Supreme Administrative Court rendered the 109-Pan-442-Zi Decision of August 20, 2020 (hereinafter, the “Decision”) holding that since administrative and civil actions are two different trial systems, an administrative court can determine on its own the facts of a case and is not bound by civil courts and, therefore, is not required to stay the trial and wait for the results of the civil decision.
According to the facts underlying this Decision, the Appellant (Company A) and Company B and Company C, not parties to this lawsuit, jointly formed a bidding supplier to participate in the procurement for the project at issue organized by the Appellee and entered into a contract for work. The Appellant subsequently delayed the completion. After the Appellee believed, as a result of its review, that the Appellant should be posted in the Government Procurement Gazette , the Appellee notified the Appellant. Dissatisfied with the original disposition, the Appellant raised an objection, which was rejected by the Appellee. After a petition and an administrative action, which were both rejected, the Appellant appealed.
During the trial at the original trial court, the Appellant brought a separate civil action against the Appellee to seek construction payment. Therefore, the Appellant motioned that the litigation procedure in this case should be stayed before the separate civil litigation was concluded. The Taichung High Administrative Court held as follows. Although the attribution of the responsibility for the construction delay was the focused issue between the parties, still the consideration and determination of evidence are not exactly the same between the civil action and the administrative action, and the results of the civil decision cannot bind the administrative decision. Therefore, the contending issues in this case should be determined by the administrative court on its own and are not bound by the relevant civil action. Therefore, the Appellant’s motion to stay the trial procedure was not granted.
The original trial court handed down a decision that denied the necessity for staying the trial in this matter since the weighting and determination of evidence between a civil action and an administrative action are not exactly the same and the results of a civil decision are not binding to this case. The Appellant appealed on the ground that the original trial court was unlawful for rendering a self-contradictory decision and for insufficiency of grounds.
According to the Decision, Article 125, Paragraph 1 of the Administrative Litigation Law suggests that the principle of ex officio investigation is adopted for administrative litigation. An administrative court’s ex officio investigation of evidence and determination of facts are not bound by the constraint asserted by the party. The principle of substantive and truthful discovery is adopted for the finding of facts. Since the civil action and administrative action in Taiwan are different trial systems and civil courts and administrative courts have their respective authority, they can make different determination of facts based on the litigation materials respectively obtained based on their investigation. Therefore, an administrative court may determine the facts in a pending case and is not bound by a civil court, and there is also no need to stay an administrative lawsuit to wait for the results of a civil decision. Therefore, the Supreme Administrative Court held that the Appellant’s criticism that the original decision was unlawful for inappropriately applying Article 182 of the Administrative Litigation Law, self-contradictory decision reasons and insufficiency of grounds is certainly unacceptable.