Possibility of invoking for the first time in the case of appeal unjust enrichment
In accordance with the provisions of Article L.571-14 et seq. Of the French Environmental Code concerning the financial participation of airport operators' companies in the measures to mitigate noise pollution, Aéroports de Paris (ADP), concluded on October 22, 2009 an agreement with the intercommunal hospital center of Villeneuve Saint-Georges on financial assistance for the realization of sound insulation works of its buildings.
The decision to sign this contract had been canceled by the Administrative Court of Paris on December 15, 2011. Once again seized the Administrative Court of Paris, this time as judge of the contract, had pronounced the resolution of the financial participation contract as well as the restitution of the sums due by the hospital center to the company ADP. In a judgment dated May 12, 2016, the Paris Administrative Court of Appeal upheld the termination of the contract but ordered ADP to make good the mistake it had made by signing this agreement, which it knew was illegal. The company ADP appealed in cassation before the Council of State.
Rule # 1: Consequences of the cancellation of a detachable act of a contract
At first, the Council of State recalls that the cancellation of a detachable act of the EC contract, August 4, 1905, Martin), does not necessarily entail the nullity of the latter. The judge has since the Béziers I and II Commune judgments (EC 28 December 2009 and EC, 21 March 2011) the power to decide whether to continue the performance of the contract, subject to a possible regularization, or order the parties to cancel the contract, if that decision is not manifestly excessive in the public interest.
Rule 2: The parties have the opportunity to continue the proceedings on extra-contractual grounds
The Conseil d'Etat then notes that, "if the judge of the contract, seized by one of the co-contractors on the order of the enforcement judge, pronounces the contract, the parties can continue the dispute which opposes them. an extra-contractual ground ". In other words, the Conseil d'Etat concludes that when the contract judge, seized of an action for contractual liability, pronounces the nullity of this contract, the parties may invoke for the first time an appeal in a new legal case. In this case, the fact for ADP to have concluded an illegal contract.
Rule n ° 3: Possibility of invoking for the first time in the case of appeal the unjust enrichment of the co-contracting party
In the present case, the intercommunal hospital center had presented, for the first time on appeal, compensatory claims against ADP.
In this case, the Conseil d'Etat considers that the Paris Court of Appeal has made no mistake of law, admitting on appeal both the compensation claims of the hospital against ADP. On the merits, the Council of State confirmed the conviction of the company ADP.
In that judgment, the Conseil d'Etat confirms the case-law CitéCable (EC 20 October 2000, Société Citécable Est, No. 196553) by extending the plea of inadmissibility on appeal from a ground of appeal based on a new legal cause, except this means is of public order (EC 20 February 1953, company Intercopie), in the specific case unjust enrichment of the contracting party.
Board of state
N ° 408082
7th - 2nd rooms together
Play of the Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
IN THE NAME OF THE FRENCH PEOPLE
Considering the following procedure:
The company Aéroports de Paris has asked the Paris Administrative Court to pronounce the resolution of the agreement of October 22, 2009 granting financial assistance for the performance of soundproofing at the hospital intercommunal center of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges and order the latter to return to Aéroports de Paris the sum of € 2,581,705.92, with interest at the legal rate from the date of the resolution of the agreement, corresponding to the portion of the assistance paid to him on March 3 and 21 November 2011. By a judgment n ° 1308164 of December 19, 2013, the administrative court of Paris pronounced the resolution of the convention of October 22, 2009, condemned the intercommunal hospital center of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges to return to the company Aéroports de Paris the sum of € 2,581,705.92 and rejected the surplus of the parties' submissions.
By a judgment n ° 14PA00758 of May 12th, 2016, the administrative court of appeal of Paris, on appeal of the intercommunal hospital center of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, canceled article 2 of this judgment relating to the condemnation of the hospital center to pay a sum of 2,581,705.92 euros to the company Aéroports de Paris, condemned the company Aéroports de Paris to pay to the hospital intercommunal of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges a sum of 5 227 504.16 euros in compensation for the fault committed , less the sum of € 2,581,705.92 corresponding to the partial payments previously made by Aéroports de Paris, unless this sum has already been returned and, finally, the excess of the parties' claims rejected.
By a summary appeal and a supplementary memorandum, registered on 12 July and 11 October 2016 at the litigation secretariat of the Conseil d'Etat, Aéroports de Paris asked the Conseil d'Etat to:
1 °) to annul this judgment;
2 °) settling the case on the merits, to dismiss the appeal of the intercommunal hospital center of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges;
3 °) to put in load of the intercommunal hospital center of Villeneuve Saint Georges the sum of 6 000 euros under article L. 761-1 of the code of administrative justice.
Considering the other parts of the file;
Seen: - the environmental code;
- the code of administrative justice;
After hearing in open session:
- the report of Mrs Charline Nicolas, master of petitions,
- the conclusions of Olivier Henrard, public rapporteur.
The word having been given, before and after the conclusions, to the SCP Garreau, Bauer-Violas, Feschotte-Desbois, lawyer of the company Aéroports de Paris and the SCP Rocheteau, Uzan-Sarano, lawyer of the intercommunal hospital center of Villeneuve- Saint Georges.
Given the note under advisement, registered on June 30, 2017, presented by the intercommunal hospital center of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges.
- Considering that according to the article L. 571-14 of the code of the environment, "the operators of the aerodromes mentioned in I of article 1609 quatervicies A of the general code of the taxes contribute to the expenses engaged by the residents of these aerodromes for the implementation of the provisions necessary for the attenuation of noise pollution (...) "; that under the terms of article L. 571-15 of the same code: "To define the residents who can claim the aid, is instituted, for each aerodrome mentioned in I of the article 1609 quatervicies A of the general code of the taxes , a plan of noise annoyance, noting the real inconvenience experienced around these aerodromes, whose methods of establishment and revision are defined by decree "; that under the terms of Article L. 571-16 of the same code: "For each aerodrome concerned, it is established a commission which is consulted on the contents of the noise annoyance plan and on the allocation of the aid intended to mitigate nuisances suffered by local residents (...) "; that finally, under the terms of article R. 571-90 of the same code, in its then applicable wording: "The operator of each aerodrome defines a multiannual program of assistance to the residents, after opinion of the advisory commission of assistance to local residents (...) The aid shall be granted by the aerodrome operator with the assent of the riparian aid advisory commission When examining aid applications concerning premises or establishments situated at the edge of zones I, II or III of the noise annoyance plan, the opinion of the commission concerns, in particular, the membership of these areas ";
- Considering that it appears from the documents of the file submitted to the judges of the substance that in application of the aforementioned texts, the company Aéroports de Paris (ADP), by a decision of 19 October 2009, awarded, after a favorable opinion of the commission advisory assistance to residents of 23 June 2009, financial assistance of up to 5,227,504.16 euros to the intercommunal hospital of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges (CHIV) for the performance of sound insulation works of its buildings; that an agreement relating to this financial commitment was concluded between the two parties on October 22, 2009; that, at the request of the National Federation of the commercial aviation and the Union of the autonomous airlines, the administrative court of Paris, by a judgment of December 15, 2011, confirmed by a judgment of the Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris of 22 November 2012, annulled the decision of 19 October 2009 of Paris Airport and its decision to sign the agreement, because of the illegality affecting the purpose of the agreement, the buildings of the CHIV being outside the perimeter the noise nuisance plan at Paris - Orly airport; that, by the same judgment, the administrative court of Paris enjoined the company ADP to seek with the CHIV the amicable resolution of the convention or failing that, to seize the judge of the contract of a action tending to the resolution of this this ; that, seized by the company ADP in execution of this judgment, the court administrative of Paris has, by a judgment of December 19, 2013, pronounced the resolution of the convention of October 22, 2009 and condemned the CHIV to return to the company ADP the sum EUR 2 581 705.92 in respect of the aid received under the contract; that the company ADP appeals in cassation against the judgment of May 12, 2016 by which the Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris, overturning the judgment of the administrative court, sentenced her to pay the CHIV a sum of 5 227 504,16 euros, corresponding to the amount of the initial subsidy, in compensation for the fault committed by the company ADP by signing an agreement of which it knew the illegality, after deduction of the sum of 2 581 705,92 euros corresponding to the partial payments previously made by ADP, unless this sum has already been paid by the CHIV to ADP;
On the appeal of the company ADP:
- Considering, firstly, that, on the one hand, the annulment of a severable act of a contract does not necessarily imply that the contract in question must be annulled; that it is up to the enforcement judge, having taken into consideration the nature of the illegality committed, either to decide that the continuation of the performance of the contract is possible, possibly subject to the regularization measures taken by the person public or agreed between the parties, or, after verifying that its decision will not unreasonably infringe the general interest, to order the public body to terminate the contract, with the illegality of a particular gravity, to invite the parties to resolve their contractual relations or, failing agreement on this resolution, to refer the matter to the judge of the contract so that he may resolution can be an appropriate solution; that in the latter case, it is up to the contract judge to pronounce, after verifying that his decision will not bring an excessive damage to the general interest, the resolution of the contract; that if the judge of the contract, seized by one of the contracting parties on the order of the enforcement judge, pronounces the resolution of the contract, the parties can pursue the dispute which opposes them on an extra-contractual ground invoking, including the first time on appeal, grounds of unjust enrichment that the application of the annulled contract has brought to the other party or the consistent fault of the other party to having entered into an unlawful contract, even though that these means, which are not of public order, are based on new legal causes; that, consequently, the Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris, by judging receivable the compensatory conclusions of the CHIV presented for the first time on appeal on a quasi-delictual basis, did not commit error of law; that besides, the company ADP is unfounded to maintain that the conclusions of appeal of the CHIV would be inadmissible, on the ground that it would have brought the amount of its claims indemnités of 2,645,798.24 euros in first instance 5,227,504.16 euros on appeal; that indeed, the CHIV had asked, from the beginning, the condemnation of the company ADP to pay him an amount corresponding to the entirety of the subsidy; that the amount mentioned in his first-instance submissions resulted from the fact that a part of the grant had already been paid and that he thus requested the payment of the balance, whereas the amount claimed on appeal took into account that, in execution the judgment of the Administrative Court, the CHIV had returned the amount of the aid which he had previously received;
- Considering, secondly, that each of the parties to an administrative contract annulled or dismissed by the judge on account of his irregularity or unlawfulness may, in the case where the latter results from fault attributable to the other party, and subject to the division of responsibility arising, as the case may be, from his own faults, to claim compensation for the damage thus caused to him; that the Administrative Court of Appeal of Paris, after having considered that the company ADP was only responsible for the wrongfulness of the contract, sentenced it to compensate the CHIV for the damage resulting for him from the undertaking of work that he would not have incurred in the absence of a subsidy and of which it regarded the amount as equivalent, in the circumstances of the case, to the amount of the subsidy originally provided for; that in thus proceeding to an analysis of the respective parts of responsibility of the two parts and to an evaluation of the damage actually undergone by the CHIV, the court did not tarnish its judgment of mistake of law;
- Considering, thirdly, that it appears from the documents in the file submitted to the judges of the merits that, if certain members of the advisory committee of aid to residents have wondered about the location of the hospital center with regard to the perimeter of the plan of inconvenience At the meeting of 23 June 2009, the same commission issued a favorable opinion on the request for aid submitted by the CHIV and that it had already been a beneficiary in the past. twice the aid granted by ADP for similar work; that under the aforementioned provisions of Article R. 571-90 of the Environmental Code, it was up to the company ADP, which was not required to grant the grant just because the advisory commission had issued a favorable opinion, to decide on its granting, after having examined the application; that, in the light of these circumstances, the CHIV could legitimately have taken the view that the work envisaged met the conditions required to benefit from a subsidy intended for the attenuation of noise pollution and that the illegality of the agreement did not was therefore not attributable, the Paris Administrative Court of Appeal did not err in legal characterization of the facts;
- Considering, fourthly, that a fault committed in the context of the examination of a request for assistance to local residents is liable to commit, with regard to the petitioner, only the liability of the operator of the aerodrome which allocates or refuses to grant the aid, even if the fault results from the illegality of the opinion issued by the advisory commission of help to the residents; that the plea alleging that the court would have committed an error in the legal characterization of the facts by holding that the fault committed by the commission was not exonerating must therefore be rejected;
- Fifthly, the plea alleging that the Paris Administrative Court of Appeal tainted its error of law judgment by failing to take into account, in assessing the harm caused to the CHIV, the value resulting from the works is new in cassation and is therefore not operative;
- Whereas it follows from all the foregoing that the appeal of the company ADP must be dismissed;
The conclusions presented under Article L. 761-1 of the Administrative Justice Code:
- Considering that the provisions of Article L. 761-1 of the Code of Administrative Justice preclude the payment of an amount to the CHIV, which is not, in the present case, the part loser; that on the other hand, it is necessary, in the circumstances of the case, to charge the company ADP the sum of 3 000 euros to be paid to the CHIV under these same provisions;
Article 1: The appeal of Aéroports de Paris is dismissed.
Article 2: The company Aéroports de Paris will pay to the intercommunal hospital center of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges a sum of 3,000 euros under article L. 761-1 code administrative justice.
Article 3: This decision will be notified to the company Aéroports de Paris and the intercommunal hospital center of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges.