In the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the regular judiciary, which consists of the courts of the first degree (magistrates' courts, courts of first instance), the courts of the second degree (appellate courts) and, at the top of the judicial scale, (the Court of Cassation) as a court of law. The civil and criminal disputes enter the jurisdiction of the regular judiciary.
Also, there is the administrative judiciary, which is composed of the Administrative Court as a first instance and the Supreme Administrative Court. It is concerned with examining administrative disputes according to Article 5 of the Administrative Judiciary Law No. 27 of 2014.
The judiciary in Jordan was a unified judiciary, starting from 1951, according to the provisions of the Law on the Formation of Regular Courts in Jordan. The ordinary statutory courts were competent to hear civil and criminal cases as well as administrative disputes. Then, a judicial chamber was established for administrative disputes on one level with the Court of Cassation as the Supreme Court of Justice. This matter remained in effect until the Supreme Court of Justice Law was issued in 1989, whereby the administrative judiciary in Jordan became independent and competent to consider administrative disputes through filing a lawsuit for annulment with the Supreme Court of Justice. Then, in 1992, the Law of the Supreme Court of Justice was amended by Law No. 12 where the Higher Court of Justice became competent to file a cancellation in addition to the claim for compensation. Then, during the constitutional amendments in 2011, an administrative judiciary was established in accordance with the provisions of the constitution at two levels (the Administrative Court and the Supreme Administrative Court) which is currently in force in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The jurisdiction of the administrative judiciary in the Kingdom of Jordan has been defined according to the Administrative Judiciary Law No. 27 of 2014. The Administrative Court, in accordance with Article 5 of the same law, has become competent to hear appeals related to final administrative decisions. These appeals include the results of the elections of the boards of industry and commerce chambers bodies, unions, associations, and clubs registered in the Kingdom. It also includes electoral appeals that are conducted in accordance with the laws and regulations in force unless there is a provision in another law to give this jurisdiction to another court and appeals submitted by the concerned parties in the final administrative decisions related to appointment to public office, promotion, transfer, assignment, secondment, or by installing to service or by rating. Likewise, the appeals of public officials regarding the cancellation of final administrative decisions related to the termination of their services or their suspension from work and the cancellation of final decisions issued against them by the disciplinary authorities. Also, appeals related to salaries, allowances, annual bonuses and increases, and pension rights due to public officials, retirees or their heirs in accordance with the legislation in force. In addition to the appeals lodged by any aggrieved party to request the cancellation of any regulation, instructions or decision based on a violation of the law issued pursuant thereto, or violation of instructions to the law or the regulation issued pursuant thereto, or a violation of the decision to the law, regulation, or instructions issued on the basis thereof. Also, appeals submitted by any party affected that relate to the cancellation of final administrative decisions, even if they are immune to the law issued pursuant to it, and challenges to any final decisions issued by administrative bodies with jurisdiction other than decisions issued by the conciliation and arbitration bodies in labor disputes. The administrative judiciary is also competent to consider applications for compensation for subsequent damages as a result of administrative decisions and procedures, noting here that the administrative judiciary is not competent to consider administrative disputes related to administrative contracts.
According to the text of Article 100 of the Jordanian constitution, an administrative judiciary has been established in two degrees. In addition, the Administrative Judiciary Law No. 27 of 2014 provided, in Article 3 thereof, for the establishment of an administrative judiciary in two levels, namely:
2.2.1. General organisation of the administrative jurisdictional order
Administrative disputes in Jordan are considered by specialized courts, which are the administrative judiciary courts in accordance with the Administrative Judicial Law and its headquarters are located in Amman, the capital, and they are at two levels:
The first degree: The administrative court, which is concerned only with the consideration of all appeals related to the final administrative decisions.
The second degree: The Supreme Administrative Court, which specializes in examining the appeals submitted to it in all final rulings issued by the Administrative Court.
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)?
Based on the provisions of Article (100) of the Jordanian constitution, the administrative judiciary is established in two grades:
- An administrative court. It consists of a president and a number of judges whose degree is not less than second. It is convened by one or more bodies formed by its president, each consisting of a president and at least two members. If the president of the court is not involved in any of its bodies, it will be presided over by the highest-ranking judge or the oldest-degree. The administrative court exclusively has the jurisdiction to hear all appeals related to final administrative decisions. There are no specialized chambers in the administrative courts according to the subject matter of the appeal, but rather the appeals are distributed among the bodies according to the number of cases submitted to the administrative court. It is not taken with the type or object of the contested administrative decision.
- A higher administrative court. It is convened by one or more bodies formed by its president. Each of them consists of a president and at least four judges. The president refers the cases submitted to the court by its bodies. In the event that one of the bodies of the higher Administrative Court decides to revoke a legal principle that it or another body had decided upon, or it was found to them that in the case before it a new or important legal principle was presented, the Higher Administrative Court would be held in its entirety. The Higher Administrative Court is competent to hear appeals submitted to it in all final rulings issued by the Administrative Court.
2.2.3. Do administrative courts have advisory powers (advice to the administration, government, parliament, etc.)?
According to the Jordanian Administrative Law No. 27 of 2014, it is not within the jurisdiction of the Administrative Court and the Higher Administrative Court to provide any legal advice, either to the government or Parliament. However, the final administrative decisions are taken and implemented by either the government or Parliament, each according to its jurisdiction; given that they are binding decisions and they have an authentic character over all.
2.2.4. Tools and documentary resources available to judges
The administrative judge can refer when studying his cases and issuing decisions to programs specialized in archiving and classifying decisions and case law, including Adalah and Qastas. In addition, there is a legal library that a judge can refer to the books needed to discuss specific legal points in some of the issues that need an in-depth jurisprudence study by looking at the jurisprudence opinions on any issue that needs thorough study.
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?
Administrative justice is an integral part of the regular judiciary. It is regular courts that specialize in hearing cases related to administrative disputes. Consequently, the conditions for appointing an administrative judge are the same as the conditions for appointing a judge in the regular courts stipulated in Article 9 of the Jordanian Judicial Independence Law No. 29 of 2014, as amended. The conditions include that he be Jordanian, has reached the age of thirty, meets the health requirements for appointment, enjoys civil capacity, not convicted of any felony, or by a court or disciplinary council for a matter that violates honor, even if he is rehabilitated or included in an amnesty, of good conduct and reputation, holds a first university degree in law from one of the faculties of law in Jordanian universities, has practiced the legal profession not less than five years, for a person who holds a first university degree in law, or for a period of not less than four years, who holds a second university degree (master’s) in law, or for a period of three years, who holds a third university degree (doctorate) in law, or who holds a diploma of the Judicial Institute. A person may not be appointed to the position of a judge except after verification of his competence, good character and suitability for the judicial function. A contest is held for applicants by a committee of no less than five judges and appointed by the Judicial Council.
The judge is transferred from one position to another within the judicial system by a decision of the Judicial Council, but the transfer to the Administrative Court is only made for judges who are not less than the second degree. It must also be noted that the President of the Higher Administrative Court is appointed by a decision of the Judicial Council, provided that the decision is accompanied by the royal will.
With regard to the guarantees of the judge, according to Article 97 of the Constitution and Article 3 of the Judicial Independence Law, the judiciary is independent and judges are independent in their judgments no authority over them other than the law, as it is prohibited for any person or authority to prejudice the independence of the judiciary and interfere in its affairs.
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?
According to the Jordanian Administrative Law No. 27 of 2014, every person affected by any final administrative decision can file a lawsuit with the administrative court. The lawsuit shall be submitted according to a petition containing the facts, reasons and the request to cancel the administrative decision issued against him. Also, according to the same law, the aggrieved party can request compensation for the damages caused as a result of those decisions issued against him, provided that the compensation application is submitted according to the administrative lawsuit. Accordingly, pursuant to Article 6 of the Administrative Judiciary Law, the petitioner can request to stop the implementation of the administrative decision. The case before the administrative court will not be admitted for those who do not have a personal interest, as the interest is the subject of the administrative case. What is meant by the interest is that the appellant has a special legal status in relation to the contested administrative decision that would affect a personal and independent interest of the appellant.
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.)?
The administrative judiciary in Jordan is competent and as previously indicated in the final administrative decisions in accordance with Article 5 of the Administrative Judiciary Law, considering that the litigation is directed to the administrative case for the administrative decision because the case is in kind. The administrative decision may affect individual freedom or relate to the public position as disciplines, transfers, pension rights, etc. The administrative decision may address electoral appeals. From here, we find that the jurisdiction of the Administrative Court has been defined in Article 5 of the Administrative Judicial Law.
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?
There is no doubt that the administrative judiciary in Jordan has drawn the rules for the conduct of the administrative case from the date of its submission to the pronouncement of the ruling through clear texts, whether the matter relates to the conditions for submitting the lawsuit, the answer sheet, the response sheet and its dates, as well as the presentation of pleadings and others. The law also gave the claimant the authority to extend his claim and clarify his requests in his written or oral pleadings before the court. There are roles set by the legislator for litigants that are guaranteed by the provisions of the Administrative Judicial Law without infringement by any party on the other. In cases not stipulated in the Administrative Judicial Law, the provisions of the Civil Procedure Law apply in accordance with the nature of the administrative judiciary.
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)?
There is no doubt that the administrative judge, while practicing his work, observes the administrative decision issued by the administration in terms of the legality of the decision. In other words, is the administrative decision consistent with the principle of legality in its broadest sense in terms of agreement of the administrative decision with the constitution, law, regulation or instructions? The administrative judge also observes the regulation's agreement with the law issued pursuant to it, or the agreement of instructions with the regulation issued pursuant to it, if a request has been made in this regard for the administrative judiciary. The administrative court can cancel the administrative decisions that violate the law issued pursuant to it or the regulation issued according to it. The administrative judge addresses the legitimacy of the administrative decision by cancelling it or dismissing the case, given that the administrative judiciary observes the legitimacy of administrative decisions. The administrative judiciary is not empowered to issue orders or directives or impose threatening fines on the administration that issued the decision. Also, the administrative judiciary observes the compatibility of the administrative decision with any international treaty ratified by Jordan, as the international treaty, after ratification, has the force of law.
It is necessary to point out that the administrative judiciary is not within its competence to consider the constitutionality of laws or regulations issued under the constitution. Any of the parties to the lawsuit before the administrative court may plea to the unconstitutionality of any law or regulation applicable to the subject matter of the case. The plea is made according to a memorandum in which the appellant indicates the name of the law or regulation pleaded to his unconstitutionality, its number and the scope of the plea in a clear and specific manner. It also includes what supports his claim that this law or regulation is applicable to the merits of the case and the aspect of its violation of the constitution. If the administrative court hearing the case finds that the law or regulation pleaded to its unconstitutionality is applicable to the subject matter of the case and that the plea to its unconstitutionality is serious, the case shall be discontinued and the plea shall be referred to the Court of Cassation for the purpose of deciding on its referral to the Constitutional Court. If the Court of Cassation approves the referral, it shall issue its decision to refer it to the Constitutional Court and informs the parties accordingly.
May administrative judges control all acts taken by the administration? Are certain acts exempted from this control?
The role of the administrative judiciary comes after the final issuance of the administrative decision and submitting a petition from the appellant before the administrative court challenging this decision. Also, some administrative decisions that the legislation stipulated must be taken into consideration for grievance. Consequently, the decision may not be appealed before the Administrative Court except after this grievance has been made. Therefore, the administrative judge does not have the right to consider the administrative decision or the administration’s action except after the appeal is filed with the administrative court. In accordance with the Jordanian Administrative Judicial Law, the jurisdiction of the administrative judiciary has been defined in accordance with Article 5 of the same law, with the exception of administrative disputes related to contracts as well as acts of sovereignty and judicial work.
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 is no doubt that the administrative judiciary monitors the actions of the administration in terms of its legitimacy, whether the administration has jurisdiction to issue decisions and their agreement with the law, the form and procedures established by law have been followed, the administrative decision is reasoned and the extent of its legitimacy, the administration has gone beyond the goals, the purpose of the decisions is the public good, and the administration is arbitrary in its decisions or authority.
When judges disagree with a ruling, are they allowed to express a dissenting opinion? In the affirmative, may they express it in all cases?
In accordance with Article 19 / e of the Jordanian Administrative Judicial Law, the administrative court issues its verdict in the lawsuit unanimously or by the majority of the opinions of the ruling body, provided that the opponent records his opinion of the ruling in writing. Following this matter is not prohibited in all types of cases requiring the registration of an opposition.
Are there alternative dispute resolution methods? Please specify.
There is no alternative in the Jordanian administrative judiciary to resolving administrative disputes between individuals and the administration issuing the decision other than resorting to the administrative judiciary. However, according to the administrative law, it is permissible to file a grievance against the administrative decision with the issuing authority in some cases stipulated by laws or regulations, in the event that the law or the regulation sets a path for permissible or compulsory grievance against the decision, pointing out here that the administration can withdraw its decision before filing the lawsuit, or while the case is being heard.
Is there a specific digital procedure for the submission of claims?
The case is filed with the Administrative Court by submitting a petition within sixty days. This period begins from the day following the date of the notification of the administrative decision complained of or the publication in the Official Gazette or by any other means. These means include electronic if the legislation provides for the implementation of the administrative decision from that date or requires that it be communicated to the concerned parties in that way. In addition, if the legislation stipulates that an administrative decision may be appealed, this decision may be appealed within sixty days. The decision issued may be appealed if the grievance is filed according to the dates and procedures specified in this legislation.
The administrative judiciary has divisions specialized in computerizing submitted appeals. This computerization indicates the petitioner's name, capacity, domicile, and lawyer, as well as the respondent's name, and capacity. It also includes the answer sheet provided by the respondent within a period of fifteen days from the day following the date of notification of the petition.
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 administrative judge's role in accordance with the Judicial Law is to monitor the legality of the final decision that the courts issue. He has no authority to issue orders to the administration that issues the decision, threatening fines, or instructions. Only the judge monitors the legitimacy of the decision in terms of the rule of law. Broad sense, in terms of its agreement with the constitution, law, regulation, or instructions. The administrative judge’s role is limited to canceling the violating administrative decision or dismissing the lawsuit, since the administrative decision must be in accordance with the law.
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?
Judgments issued by the Supreme Administrative Court are categorical and do not accept appeal in any way. The rulings of the Supreme Administrative Court and those peremptory of the administrative court must also be implemented in the manner in which they are issued. If the ruling includes the cancellation of the administrative decision that is the subject of the lawsuit, all legal and administrative procedures and actions that were taken according to that decision are considered canceled from the date of issuance. The verdict of annulment is an argument for all.
May rulings of administrative courts be challenged? What is the time limit for appeal? Before which authorities / jurisdictions can these rulings be challenged?
According to the Administrative Judiciary Law, Article 26 thereof, the ruling issued by the Administrative Court is subject to appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court within 30 days from the day of issue. If it is in presence or from the day following the date of notification, the ruling is considered to be as in presence or legally in presence.
Judgments issued by the Supreme Administrative Court are categorical and do not accept appeal in any way. The rulings of the Supreme Administrative Court and those peremptory of the administrative court must also be implemented in the manner in which they are issued. If the ruling includes the cancellation of the administrative decision that is the subject of the lawsuit, all legal and administrative procedures and actions that were taken according to that decision are considered canceled from the date of issuance. The Council of Ministers issues the necessary regulations to implement the provisions of the Administrative Judicial Law.
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