A decision by administrative authorities may be appealed against to an administrative court

Most administrative decisions taken by central government or local government authorities can be appealed. All decisions are accompanied by information about how and to whom the decision can be appealed. If a decision does not come with appeal instructions, questions regarding this should be addressed to the authority that made the decision.

In most cases, decisions can be appealed directly to the Administrative Court. In some cases, however, the dissatisfied party needs to first request a correction from the authority that made the decision. In these cases, only the decision made during the correction procedure can be appealed to the Administrative Court. In tax matters, for example, the first step is to apply for a correction from the Tax Appeals Board, after which any subsequent appeals can be addressed to the Administrative Court.

An appeal against a decision taken by a central government authority is called an administrative appeal. Only a party affected by a decision, i.e. an individual or organisation whose rights, interests or responsibilities are involved, can submit an administrative appeal.

Decisions taken by local government authorities can usually be appealed by any resident of the local authority in question, regardless of how the decision affects him or her. However, an appeal against a decision taken by a local government authority can also be an administrative appeal, in which case only the parties involved have the right to appeal. This can be the case with decisions taken by local building supervision authorities or social welfare authorities, for example.

Appeals to the Administrative Court must be made in writing. The letter of appeal can be informal, but it must state which decision is being appealed and which part of the decision the appellant wishes to be amended. The appeal must indicate how the appellant wishes the decision to be amended and on what grounds. The letter of appeal must give the appellant’s name and home town as well as contact details. The appeal must be signed.

The appeal must be accompanied by the original decision or a copy of the same, information about when the appellant received notification of the decision, as well as any documents that the appellant wishes to present to the court as grounds for the appeal unless the authority that made the decision already has these documents.

In most cases, a decision taken by an authority cannot be executed until the appeal deadline has expired or any appeals against the decision have been resolved. However, tax and public charges, for example, are usually levied, even if an appeal against the underlying decision has been filed. In local government matters, too, the general rule is that a decision can be executed even if there is an appeal pending against it. However, the appellant can always ask the Administrative Court to prohibit or stay the execution of the decision pending appeal.

The Administrative Court strives to process cases in the order that they are filed. However, certain matters, such as appeals relating to child welfare or the dismissal of an office holder, are given priority.

The Administrative Court mostly issues decisions in writing, but oral hearings and reviews have become more common in recent years.

Once a case has been filed, the Administrative Court will ask the other party for a response. An oral hearing will be held if considered necessary, during which the parties, witnesses and experts can be heard. The oral hearing will be part of the proceedings, which can also continue after the hearing. The Administrative Court will make its decision on the matter in a separate session at a later date.

The Administrative Court can also conduct a review, i.e. an on-site visit, to familiarise itself with any circumstances that the court must be familiar with in order to resolve the matter. Reviews are particularly common in cases involving building matters and environmental issues.

The decision of the Administrative Court will state whether further appeals are possible and whether leave to appeal is required. In most cases, a dissatisfied party can appeal a decision taken by the Administrative Court to the Supreme Administrative Court or apply for a leave to appeal. However, some decisions cannot be appealed.

Published 19.3.2014