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Court Orders Cancellation of School Site Fees

Posted June. 10, 2005 06:49,   


The court has issued an order for the cancellation of the school site fees, which are levied on new residents of apartment complexes accommodating 300 households or more.

The decision is the first regarding a specific case since the Constitutional Court ruled against the constitutionality of a related article in the “Act on Special Cases Concerning the Procurement of School Sites” on March 31 of this year.

The court’s ruling is expected to serve as a practical solution to the tens of thousands of school site fee-related disputes currently spreading throughout the country.

The Contents of the Ruling-

On June 9, the Seoul Administration Court’s Administration Department 1 (presiding judge: Kwon Sun-il) ruled in the suit filed by Mr. Choi (41) and five others who have purchased units in Area 2 Complex 3 (540 households) of the Sang-am Residential Development Zone in Sang-am-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, that all school site fees charged to the plaintiffs should be revoked.

“Article 5 clause 1 of the special cases act ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, which decrees that ‘fees may be imposed on and collected from new residents of collective housing complexes for the procurement of school sites,’ is identical to the article of contention in the current case,” the bench explained. “The district office’s action, which was based on this article, is therefore illegal.”

The article that became an issue in the case was partially amended from the old act in 2002. The court has in effect ruled that the revised article is equivalent to the related article in the old special cases act, and that the Constitutional Court’s ruling applies to it equally.

Significance and Repercussions-

When an individual raises a legal issue in regard to an administrative measure enacted by a district office or a similar administrative body, he/she must undergo judgment by the local Administrative Adjudication Committee, according to the “transposition system of administrative decision before the litigation.”

Accordingly, requests for the cancellation of school site fees poured into administrative agencies following the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

In Gyeonggi Province, where large-scale new town developments are in progress, 6,200 cases of administrative adjudication have been filed between the Constitutional Court’s decision and early June. Since April, 680 requests have been filed with the Seoul Administrative Adjudication Committee.

The Board of Audit and Inspection received over 20,000 investigation requests related to the school site fees during the same period. Between 2003, when the Constitutional Court was requested to review the special cases act, and the end of March this year, when the ruling was announced, the number of requests received stood at approximately 40,000.

However, not one of these cases has been resolved. The act ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court has been amended since the ruling and administrative agencies have been imposing the fees based on the revised act, thus creating significant confusion.

A Seoul City official said, “We were putting our hands up at the barrage of requests, but this ruling practically solves all of these cases.”

Ji-Seong Jeon verso@donga.com