Cassation appeal in administrative proceedings - when does it apply?

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Administrative law is the broadest and most complex branch of law in Poland. Anything that is not a civil or criminal matter is an administrative matter. Each decision issued by the body is an administrative decision - whether it is a local government appeal board, city president, director of the tax administration chamber, or the university rector. Each decision may be appealed against, against which a complaint may then be lodged with the provincial administrative court. This article will set out the highest authority in administrative matters, who and within what period may lodge a cassation appeal, on what it may be based. The obligatory elements included in each cassation appeal in administrative proceedings will also be given. The article concerns complaints submitted by a party.

Institution of a cassation appeal

A cassation appeal is an appeal against judgments or decisions ending proceedings in a case issued by voivodeship administrative courts. The court that hears these complaints is the Supreme Administrative Court located in Warsaw. Regulations concerning this institution can be found in section IV of the Act on Proceedings before Administrative Courts.

It is not a measure as unique as a cassation appeal in civil proceedings, but it also has its own separate regulations and requirements.

When cannot a cassation appeal in administrative proceedings be lodged?

A cassation appeal may not be filed against a judgment or decision of a voivodeship administrative court which:

  • states that the action was brought after the expiry of the time-limit for bringing it;

  • notes the failure to remedy the formal deficiencies in the complaint within the prescribed time limit;

  • states that the matter under the complaint is pending or has already been judged by the same parties;

  • discontinues the proceedings as the complainant successfully withdrew the complaint;

  • discontinues the proceedings in the event of the death of a party, and the subject of the proceedings referred only to the rights and obligations closely related to the deceased person - for example, receiving a scholarship, unless participation in the case is reported by a person whose legal interest is affected by the outcome of the proceedings;

  • discontinues the proceedings as they became redundant.

Apart from these situations, a cassation appeal may be filed against each judgment and order ending the proceedings in the case.

Who may file a cassation appeal and within what period?

  • A cassation appeal may be lodged by:

  • a party that does not agree with the decision made;

  • prosecutor;

  • Ombudsman;

  • Ombudsman for Children's Rights;

  • Spokesman for Small and Medium Enterprises.

As in civil proceedings, the party cannot act alone, but the complaint should be made by a solicitor, solicitor, tax advisor or patent attorney (by an advisor or attorney only if the complaints are related to their duties and activities). The complainant may not appear alone or through a professional attorney before the Supreme Administrative Court.

The deadline for submitting a complaint, which is binding on a party acting through a professional attorney, is 30 days from the date of delivery of the judgment together with the justification. Only then does this time limit begin to run. However, being late even by one day will result in the rejection of the complaint - it will not be examined as to its merits, and rejected due to formal deficiencies. Importantly, a cassation appeal is submitted to the Supreme Administrative Court through the voivodeship administrative court that issued the judgment or decision under appeal.

It is worth adding that the cassation appeal is payable - the amount of the fee can be checked

in the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of December 16, 2003 on the amount and detailed rules for collecting an entry in proceedings before administrative courts.

Grounds for a cassation appeal

The basis for a cassation appeal in administrative proceedings may be:

  • Violation of substantive law, through misinterpretation or incorrect application - for example, by omitting the provisions on tax exemption and imposing a tax obligation on the party, contrary to the provisions;

  • Violation of the provisions of the procedure, if the failure could have a significant impact on the result of the case - for example, in construction law cases, failure to appoint an expert in this field may result in the case not being sufficiently clarified, because the court will adjudicate on the basis of incomplete evidence, no having special knowledge. It is important that this violation could have a significant impact on the resolution.

This is a closed catalog of allegations, it is not possible to refer to, for example, a factual error - this is the allegation that the court found that X took place, while we believe that it did not happen or that something else happened.

Elements of a cassation appeal

Each cassation appeal should contain the following elements:

  • the designation of the decision against which it is brought, with an indication of whether it is contested in whole or in part;

Example 1.

I appeal against the judgment of the Provincial Administrative Court in Lublin of June 20, 2019 in the case: I SA / Lu 50/19 in full / in part ...

  • citation of the grounds for cassation and their justification - indicated in the point above;

  • a motion to set aside or set aside and amend the decision, specifying the scope of the requested revocation or amendment;

Example 2.

In view of the above, I request that the judgment under appeal be set aside and the case be remitted to a court equivalent to that which issued the judgment under appeal.

  • Application for the case to be heard by the Supreme Administrative Court or a declaration of the waiver of the hearing.

Example 3.

I am applying for the case to be examined during the hearing / I declare that I waive the appointment of the hearing in this case and I request that it be examined in closed session.

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Can the voivodeship administrative court uphold a cassation appeal?

If a cassation appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court accuses the judgment under appeal of the invalidity of the proceedings or if its grounds are obviously justified, the voivodeship administrative court may, before presenting the cassation appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court, revoke the appealed decision or judgment and consider the case. Then a favorable result can be obtained in the same instance, and the cassation appeal will not be submitted to the Supreme Administrative Court for examination. However, this happens very rarely, and the lion's share of cassation appeals are referred to the Supreme Administrative Court.

Decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court

The Supreme Administrative Court may:

  • reject, in closed session, a cassation appeal, if it was rejected by the voivodeship administrative court, due to formal deficiencies - its preparation by a party not represented by a professional attorney, failure to pay for the complaint, submission of the complaint after the deadline;

  • dismiss a cassation appeal if there are no justified grounds for its admission, or if the appealed judgment, despite incorrect justification, corresponds to the law;

  • admit the cassation appeal and revoke the judgment under appeal in whole or in part and refer the case to the voivodeship administrative court for re-examination;

The voivodeship administrative court, when re-examining the case, must have a different composition. If it cannot be recognized in a different composition - the case is transferred to another voivodeship administrative court;

  • admit the cassation appeal, revoke the judgment under appeal and examine the appeal, if it considers that the essence of the case is sufficiently clarified - this applies to a situation where all relevant and necessary evidence has been carried out and the voivodeship administrative court incorrectly applied the provisions of substantive law and this breach may be corrected spontaneously by the Supreme Administrative Court.