Appealing to an administrative court
Administrative courts deal mainly with appeals against the decisions of various public authorities. A person whom the decision concerns — a party — has standing to appeal. An appeal against the decision of a municipal authority may also be lodged by a natural and legal person resident in the municipality in question. In many statutes, party status has been specifically defined in the text of the legislation. Also an authority may be a party. Administrative courts deal also with administrative litigation and certain other tasks statutorily assigned to them.
In several matters, an appeal may be lodged directly to an administrative court. In certain types of matter, however, there is no direct appeal to an administrative court before the matter has first been considered in adjustment proceedings internal to the administration. For instance, in a tax matter, a municipal matter and a matter concerning different fees and compensation, the party dissatisfied with a decision issued by an authority needs to first request an adjustment from the authority in question. Instructions on adjustment proceedings are included in the decision of the authority.
An adjustment request is not in use in matters of particular significance to the legal protection of the party concerned, where it is important to bring the matter quickly to a court of law for a decision. These include, for instance, matters concerning the imposition of a penalty payment, the enforcement of notice of enforced compliance and suspension, and matters on business licences.
Appeals against decisions by state authorities are called administrative appeals and most appeals against decisions by local authorities municipal appeals. Only a party, that is, a person whose rights, interests or obligations are affected by the decision, has standing to file an administrative appeal. Everyone domiciled in a municipality has standing to file a municipal appeal, regardless of whether the decision affects him or her. There are certain decisions of local authorities, such as construction control officers or social welfare authorities, that can be appealed against only by way of administrative appeal.
Certain types of matters have been centralised to be dealt with by one administrative court only, regardless of where in the country the office of the deciding authority or the domicile of the appellant are located.
If a decision of a public authority is open to appeal, it contains appeal instructions. The instructions contain a time limit for appealing and information on which appellate authority, such as an administrative court, the appeal should be delivered to. If a decision contains no appeal instructions, queries as to the reason why should be addressed to the authority which made the decision.
Administrative courts have jurisdiction also in matters of administrative litigation. Administrative litigation refers to a case involving a public-law obligation or right that cannot be settled by means of a unilateral decision of an authority. Administrative litigation is initiated by petition. Administrative litigation can concern, for instance, recovery of subsidies or organising of or the expenses for health services.
There are certain official decisions which require confirmation by an administrative court in order to take effect. Such submission matters are for example decisions concerning involuntary care. In such cases, the deciding authority submits the decision to the administrative court on its own motion and requests that the decision be confirmed.