1.1. General presentation of the judicial organisation and position of the administrative jurisdictional order
The administrative jurisdictional order consists of eight Regional courts which decide administrative disputes as courts of the first instance (either by specialized chambers composed of three judges or by a specialized single judge) and the Supreme Administrative Court as the instance of cassation.
1.2. Key dates in the evolution of the administrative jurisdictional order and the control of administrative acts
1875 – the Administrative Court in Vienna was established in law. Rules of procedure governing the proceedings before the court were adopted (Act No. 36/1876 Imp. Coll., so-called “October Act”).
1918 – the Czechoslovak Republic took up the institution of the Supreme Administrative Court ; Ferdinand Pantůček was appointed as the first president of the Supreme Administrative Court
1952 – administrative justice was abolished by the Constitutional Act No. 64/1952 Coll.
1993 – the Constitution of the Czech Republic restored the Supreme Administrative Court
2002 – the Parliament adopted the Code of Administrative Justice
January 2003 – the modern Supreme Administrative Court was established ; Josef Baxa was appointed as President and Michal Mazanec was appointed as Vice-President
December 2003 – the first issue of the Court Reports was published
2004 – chambers of the Supreme Administrative Court were divided in two divisions (Financial Law Division and Social Security Law Division) ; the extended chamber was constitued
2014 – divisions of the Supreme Administrative Court were cancelled
1.3. Criteria of competence of the administrative jurisdiction
Regional courts decide actions brought by individuals and/or legal entities against decisions issued by the State administration or a self-governing authority, or by other authorities which are entrusted with deciding about rights and duties of individuals and/or legal entities in the field of public administration. They further decide about the protection against failure of the administrative body to act, about the protection against unlawful interference, instruction or coercion of the administrative body, about the imposition of administrative fines and penalties or other administrative sanctions and about annulment of measures of general nature.
The Supreme Administrative Court decides extraordinary remedies (cassation complaints) brought against decisions of the Regional courts. In some cases, however, it decides in the first and final instance (matters concerning national elections and elections to the European Parliament, matters of political parties and political movements). It further decides positive and negative competence conflicts between the State administration and self-governing authorities, between different self-governing authorities and between different central administration authorities.
2.1. Key founding texts
the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
the Code of Administrative Justice
the Code of Civil Procedure
the Act No. 131/2002 Coll., on the decision-making of some competence disputes
2.2. Organisation and competence of the administrative jurisdiction
2.2.1. General organisation of the administrative jurisdictional order
Is administrative justice rendered by specialized courts or by specialized chambers set within jurisdictions with a general competence? Does the administrative jurisdiction include several levels of jurisdiction (first instance, appeal, cassation)? Are there specialized administrative courts?
Regional courts decide administrative disputes as courts of the first instance (either by specialized chambers composed of three judges or by a specialized single judge).
The Supreme Administrative Court acts as the instance of cassation. It rules in the first and final instance in specified matters of national elections and elections to the European Parliament, political parties and political movements.
2.2.2. Internal organisation of administrative courts and composition of the bench of judges
Are administrative courts organized in chambers or divisions? Are these chambers or divisions specialized? Are there several degrees of formation of the court (single judge, collegiate panels with three, five ... judges, full court)?
Regional courts decide on matters of administrative justice in specialized benches comprised of a presiding judge and two judges.
In some matters (e.g. international protection, administrative expulsion, retirement insurance, social security, matters of infractions) decisions are made by a specialized judge sitting alone.
The Supreme Administrative Court makes decisions through benches of judges or extended benches of judges.
A bench of judges consists of
An extended bench of judges consists of
2.2.3. Do administrative courts have advisory powers (advice to the administration, government, parliament, etc.)?
Administrative courts do not have advisory powers.
2.2.4. Tools and documentary resources available to judges
Law, previous court decisions, professional literature, electronic legal databases, legal analysis prepared by the Department of Analysis and Documentation of the Supreme Administrative Court.
2.3. Status of administrative judges
How is the recruitment of judges organised (competitive exam, political appointment, peer election…)? What are their statutory guarantees while in office, particularly in terms of independence?
Candidates are proposed by the Minister of Justice and appointed by the President of the Czech Republic for an unlimited period of time.
The President and Vice-President of the Supreme Administrative Court are nominated from the judges of this Court by the President of the Czech Republic.
Criteria for the candidates: Czech nationality, minimum age 30 years, legal capacity, probity, necessary experience and moral integrity, university degree in law, preparatory service, professional exam, and agreement with the appointment.
The statutory guarantees are an appointment for the relatively unlimited period of time (till the age of 70); immunity from being discharged (except as a sanction for serious disciplinary offence); impossibility of relocation without a judge’s approval; incompatibility with certain functions and sufficient financial evaluation (given by law).
3.1. Types of plea
What kind of petition may applicants file before administrative courts? May applicants only request the invalidation of an administrative act? May administrative courts rule on compensatory claims?
Before Regional Courts, applicants may file:
The Supreme Administrative Court decides on:
Regional Courts may:
The Supreme Administrative Court may:
Administrative courts are not competent to decide on compensatory claims.
3.2. Emergency procedures
Are there any emergency procedures available before administrative courts? In the affirmative, do they cover the whole field of administrative law or do they concern only specific areas of administrative action (individual freedoms, public procurement, etc.)?
There are none.
3.3. Procedural principles before administrative courts
What are the rules governing the conduct of litigation before administrative courts? What are the guarantees offered to litigants? What are the principles governing the relationship between judges and litigants?
3.4. Reference standards for the control exercised by administrative judges
In relation to which norm (regulations, laws, international conventions, constitution ...) do administrative judges control administrative acts? Are they competent to control the conformity of laws and regulations with the Constitution (constitutional judicial review)? Are they competent to control the conformity of laws and regulations with international treaties (judicial review of international law)?
Administrative courts decide according to the Code of Administrative Justice whether administrative authorities applied proper norms when they were taking the decision.
Administrative courts are not competent to control the conformity of laws and regulations with the Constitution or international treaties. When it seems, there might be a conflict courts are obliged to submit petitions proposing the annulment of a statute or individual provisions thereof to Constitutional Court.
3.5. Scope and nature of administrative judicial review
May administrative judges control all acts taken by the administration? Are certain acts exempted from this control?
The administrative judge is not competent to control the acts taken by the administration in matters of private law within the limits of the administrative jurisdiction and the acts excluded by specific law.
Which degree of control is used by administrative judges? Does this degree of control vary according to the nature of the challenged act and/or the margin of appreciation left to the administration?
There are no degrees of control.
3.6. Dissident opinions
When judges disagree with a ruling, are they allowed to express a dissenting opinion? In the affirmative, may they express it in all cases?
Only in the cases decided before the Supreme Administrative Court by an extended bench of judges.
3.7. Alternative methods of dispute resolution
Are there alternative dispute resolution methods? Please specify.
There are not any alternative dispute resolution methods.
3.8. Digitised procedures
Is there a specific digital procedure for the submission of claims?
4.1. Powers of administrative judges
May judges amend administrative acts by substituting their own analysis to that of the administration or may they only invalidate them? May they compel the administration to act in a specific way (power of injunction, penalties)?
The Regional courts are empowered to:
- pronounce the annulment of the contested decision as unlawful or for procedural faults and revert the matter back to the administrative body to retry it;
- impose on the administrative body the obligation to take a decision if an action against failure to act was brought;
- impose on the administrative body the obligation to stop the unlawful interference and restore the stage before the encroachment;
- dismiss the action and confirm the decision of the administrative body;
- annul a measure of general nature;
- amend the administrative penalty (waive it or decrease it) if an action against the imposition of administrative fines and penalties or other administrative sanctions is brought.
The Supreme Administrative Court can:
- annul a decision of a Regional court and revert the matter back for further proceedings;
- dismiss a cassation complaint;
- determine which administrative authority is competent to issue a decision;
- dissolute a political party or political movement, discontinuation or resumption of their activity;
- invalidate results of national elections or elections to the European Parliament; it further decides in matters of registration of candidates in connection with elections to EP
4.2. Impact and authority of administrative judgements
To whom do decisions rendered by administrative judges apply (absolute effect – erga omnes - of res judicata, relative effect of res judicata)? What criterion is used to choose between these two options?
Most of the decisions have a relative effect.
Decisions on matters of election, referendum and political parties and annulment of a measure of general nature have an absolute effect.
The used criterion is whether the decision affects only the parties involved or other individuals as well.
May rulings of administrative courts be challenged? What is the time limit for appeal? Before which authorities / jurisdictions can these rulings be challenged?
Rulings of Regional Courts may be challenged by cassation complaints before the Supreme Administrative Court.
The cassation complaint must be submitted within two weeks after the delivery of the decision.
There is no remedy against a cassation complaint. The only exception is a constitutional complaint which can be submitted in extraordinary situations when a party alleges that his/her fundamental rights and basic freedoms guaranteed in the constitutional order have been infringed as a result of the final decision.
© AIHJA - IASAJ Copyright