Administrative law

Proceedings in cases related to complaints against decisions of a public administration body – selected court rulings

Self-control
Self-control in complaintive proceedings is defined as the competence of a public administration body whose act, inactivity or lengthy conduct of proceedings was appealed against, to take account of the complaint in its entirety within thirty days of its receipt. This competence is regulated in art. 54 § 3 of the Act of 30 August 2002 Law on proceedings before administrative courts (hereinafter: ppsa). It is worth noting here that the competence of given authority is limited to fully taking into account the complaint. Therefore, the authority does not have such competences as the Voivodship Administrative Court (hereinafter: WSA) when examining the complaint and the only procedural action it can take, apart from submitting the case files to the competent WSA (assuming the complaint meets the formal requirements) is to accept the complaint in its entirety with an indication of whether the violation which the authority made in the contested decision took place without a legal basis or a flagrant violation of the law.

If the complaint is taken into account by the authority in the course of self-control, the authority is obliged to submit the complaint to the competent administrative court together with complete and orderly files of the case and a decision issued under self-control (self-auditing) [see: decision of Supreme Administrative Court (NSA) of 8.12.2005, II OZ 1197/05, OSG 2006, No. 4, item 36; WSA in Rzeszów from 23/04/2013, II SA / Rz 81/13, Legalis; adjudicated by the WSA in Warsaw of 3.4.2013, VIII SA / Wa 1023/12, Legalis; issued by the Voivodship Administrative Court in Warsaw of 20 March 2013, VIII SA / Wa 1030/12, Legalis]. The authority is obliged to fulfill this obligation within thirty days from the date of receipt of the complaint. Therefore, the use of the self-control procedure by the authority does not exempt the submission of the case file to the competent WSA.

If the authority does not fulfill the obligations set out in Article 54 § 2 ppsa, i.e. it will not send a complaint along with the files and the answer to it, the court may fine him. The appellant has the right to file an application in this matter. The fine may be imposed on the amount of tenfold average monthly remuneration in the national economy in the previous year, announced by the president of the Central Statistical Office. Administrative courts underline (including the decision of the Voivodeship Administrative Court of 6 August 2014, I SO / Go 7/14) authority can be encumbered with fine repeatedly.

Withdrawal of the complaint
This topic is partly related to the content of the previous paragraph. What if the appellant receives a message that his complaint has been accepted in its entirety? What if, due to the desire to speed up the proceedings, he would like to withdraw the complaint? In the context of the above, it should be remembered that if the complaint is received by the competent Administrative Court (which will take place regardless of whether the complaint has been accepted by the authority or not), the appellant will be asked to pay an entry fee for the complaint. It is known that the appellant who intends to withdraw the complaint (or has already done so) will not pay an entry fee for the complaint, so that he wouldn’t unnecessarily enter the procedure for returning it. An extremely important decision of the Voivodship Administrative Court in Łódź of March 2, 2011 was issued on this subject in case no. III SA / Łd 56/11. According to the ruling:

Given that the complainants stated that they would withdraw their complaint, it should be noted that if the party withdraws the complaint before paying the due entry, the Court does not consider the effectiveness of the withdrawal of the complaint but rejects it if the deadline for payment has expired (see decsion of the Supreme Administrative Court) of June 10, 1987, reference number SA / Gd 537/87, TSO of 1990, No. 4, item 207).”

In conclusion, if the party withdraws the complaint before paying the due entry, the administrative court does not consider the effectiveness of revocation of the complaint, but – in the case of ineffective expiration of the deadline to complete the formal absence of an entry fee – simply rejects it. This is important because the appellant will not have to withdraw their complaint, because the lack of payment will be the basis for the WSA’s procedural decision, regardless of whether the complaint is revoked or not. It can therefore be assumed that the withdrawal of the complaint will not speed up the proceedings, and may have an effect contrary to the reverse order, if the WSA will want to comment substantively on this activity.

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