In order to engage in the retail sale of tobacco products, a permit is required from the municipality in which the point of sale is located. When the applicant is a legal person, the assessment of suitability also covers the natural persons who exercise significant influence on the business.
A company which operates a business as franchisee applied for a permit but did not comply with the municipality’s request to submit the franchise agreement in its entirety. The municipality rejected the application and stated that as the company had not submitted the franchise agreement in its entirety, the group of persons with significant influence on the business could not be identified. The decision was appealed to the administrative court of appeal, which considered that the conditions for rejecting the company’s application on this ground were not met.
In the judgment the Supreme Administrative Court found that an assessment by an authority of the information it deems necessary for its examination should, as a rule, be accepted as long as it does not entail unreasonable costs or an unreasonable work burden for the individual. There is normally no reason for a court, in the review of an appealed decision in an application matter, to question whether the authority’s investigative measures were necessary.
The Supreme Administrative Court further stated that a condition for being able to assess an applicant’s suitability is that it must be established who is to be covered by the assessment of suitability. In every individual matter, the municipality shall determine which information is necessary in order for the investigation to be regarded as sufficient in this respect and must have the possibility to order the applicant to submit the information necessary.
In the case at hand, the franchise agreement may constitute necessary information in the examination conducted by the municipality. Based on the purpose of the municipality’s request, it may be regarded as reasonable in relation to the inconvenience which it may be deemed to entail for the company. The Supreme Administrative Court therefore granted the appeal.
Read the judgment here: