Update: Judgement of the Cologne Administrative Court on the HGV toll

On 20 March 2024, the Administrative Court of Cologne ruled in a judgment (file number 14 K 6556/20) that the collection of the HGV toll in the period from 1 October 2015 to 27 October 2020 was unlawful insofar as the costs for the traffic police had been taken into account when calculating the toll.

The Administrative Court therefore ordered the Federal Republic of Germany to reimburse the toll.

The court justified this by pointing out that the costs of the traffic police cannot be included in the calculation of toll rates due to the provisions of the EU Directive on the cost of road infrastructure by vehicles. The considerations of the European Court of Justice and the Higher Administrative Court of Münster, which have already decided this case for the period 2010 to 2011, can be fully applied to the period 2015 to 2020. The calculation of costs for the police was also incorrect, as it also included costs incurred for non-police tasks.

In the judgment, the court found that the percentage of costs for the traffic police for the period from 1 October 2015 to 31 December 2018 was 5.86% and for the period from 1 January 2019 to 27 October 2020 was 4,44%.

The judgment is not yet final. The parties can still file an appeal, which will be considered by the Higher Administrative Court in Münster. Further lawsuits from transport companies are pending before the Administrative Court in Cologne, in which they are claiming not only their share of the police costs, but also a full refund of tolls paid for various periods. It is not yet clear when the court will rule on these claims.

The ruling confirms the claims of the transport companies, which have asked the Federal Office for Mobility and Logistics to reimburse tolls for heavy goods vehicles. It remains to be seen whether one of the parties will appeal and how the court will rule on the remaining claims.

Grau Rechtsanwälte PartGmbB advises and represents freight forwarders and carriers in the field of transport law.

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