Suspension of administrative deadlines due to the COVID-19 epidemic

Under the terms of the Law on Counteracting the spread of COVID-19 (hereinafter referred to as “Special Act”’), during the period in which an epidemic emergency or state of  epidemic is in force, the time limits for administrative court proceedings and administrative proceedings do not start and are suspended for that period.

Suspended are:

  • Time limits on which legal protection in court or authority is dependent;
  • Time limits for a party to perform actions shaping its rights and obligations;
  • The statute of limitations;
  • Time limits, the failure to comply with which results in the expiry or modification of rights in rem and claims and receivables, as well as falling into delay;
  • Final dates, the failure to comply with which is subject to adverse consequences for the party;
  • The entities or organizational units subject to registration in the relevant register to perform activities which give rise to the obligation to report to that register, as well as time limits for the entities to perform their obligations under the regulations on their system.

Examples of such terms are those set out in the Code of Administrative Procedure or in the Law on Proceedings before Administrative Courts:

Applicable party to the proceedings:

  • 7-day period for submitting a complaint
  • 14 day period for submitting an appeal
  • 30-day period for submitting a complaint to the administrative court

The time limits applicable to public administration bodies for the consideration of cases:

  • In the case of cases requiring investigation, one month from the date of initiation of the procedure
  • In the case of particularly complex cases requiring an investigation, no later than two months from the date of initiation of the procedure
  • In case of appeal proceedings – one month from the date of receipt of the appeal

Failure to deal with cases involving the suspension of deadlines

In connection with the suspension of the application of the provisions governing the time limits to be observed by the parties and offices, we may encounter significant difficulties in obtaining a court decision or administrative decision. At the same time, the parties have lost the opportunity to assert their rights for inaction or protraction and the right to hear the case without undue delay.

These regulations may suspend any action in proceedings conducted by administrative offices and courts. Letters, motions, complaints, etc. submitted by the parties or participants to the proceedings during an emergency or epidemic may remain unrecognized and public administration bodies will not suffer negative consequences as a result. 

A quicker resolution depending on the will of the authority

The Special Act provides that the activities performed during the period of suspension of the commencement or suspension of the running of deadlines are effective. This means that courts and offices may continue their work in practice.

A party or participants to the proceedings are obliged to perform actions specified in the demand if failure to perform the action could cause a threat to life or health, serious damage to the public interest or threaten irreparable material damage, this also applies to public administration bodies, which have been asked to take a stand on the subject matter of the proceedings. A party may also voluntarily comply with an obligation imposed, even if the time limit for compliance does not run.

Consequently, ex-officio may be issued:

  • Decisions wholly in response to a request from a party or participant in proceedings,
  • Certificates of no grounds for objection.

An example of a decision that fully complies with a party’s or participant’s request is the following:

  • Decision on authorisation of use
  • Decision to transfer the building permit

A party may appeal against an administrative decision. The decision shall not be enforced before the expiry of the time limit for appeal. However, if it complies with the request of all parties, it shall be enforceable before the expiry of that period. It may also be considered to obtain a declaration from all parties/parties to the proceedings waiving the right to appeal the decision (action).

Thus, there are no obstacles to the parties’ requests being dealt with.