Administrative court

An administrative court is a type of court specializing in administrative law, particularly disputes concerning the exercise of public power. Their role is to ascertain that official acts are consistent with the law. Such courts are considered separate from general courts.

The administrative acts are recognized from the hallmark that they become binding without the consent of the other involved parties. The contracts between authorities and private persons fall usually to the jurisdiction of the general court system. Official decisions contested in administrative courts include:[1]

  • taxation
  • dispensation of monetary benefits
  • environmental licenses
  • building inspection
  • child custody
  • involuntary commitment
  • immigration decisions
  • summary public payments (other than fines imposed by general courts)
Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Deutschland)
The Federal Administrative Court of Germany in Leipzig is the highest administrative court in Germany.

In several countries, in addition to general courts, there is a separate system of administrative courts, where the general and administrative systems do not have jurisdiction over each other. Accordingly, there is a local administrative court of first instance, possibly an appeals court and a Supreme Administrative Court separate from the general Supreme Court.

Stenbockska palatset Stockholm 4 mars 2007
The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden in Stockholm is the highest administrative court in Sweden.

The parallel system is found in countries like Egypt, Greece, Germany, France, Italy, some of the Nordic Countries, Portugal, Taiwan and others. In France, Greece, Portugal and Sweden, the system has three levels like the general system, with local courts, appeals courts and a Supreme Administrative Court. In Finland, Italy, Poland and Taiwan, the system has two levels, where the court of first instance is a regional court. In Germany, the system is more complicated, and courts are more specialized.

Conseil d'Etat Paris WA
The Conseil d'Etat in Paris is the Supreme Administrative court in France .

In Finland, legality of decisions of both state agencies and municipal authorities can be appealed to the administrative courts. In accordance with the principle of the legal autonomy of municipalities, administrative courts can only review and rule on the formal legality of the decision, not its content. In the case of state agencies, administrative courts may rule on the actual content of the decision.

In the United States, administrative courts are tribunals within administrative agencies, and are distinct from judicial courts. Decisions of administrative courts can be appealed to a judicial court.

Notably, in 1952, the Communist East German government abolished the administrative courts as "bourgeois". This limited the citizens' ability to contest official decisions. In 1989, re-establishment of the system began in DDR, but the German reunification made this initiative obsolete.



  1. ^ Oikeusministeriö - Justitieministeriet Archived February 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
Arabic Popular Movement

The Arabic Popular Movement (also translated as the Arabian Popular Movement) is a political party in Egypt created by members of the Tamarod movement. The Supreme Electoral Commission announced on 3 December 2014 that it had declined the establishment of the party and referred the case to the Supreme Administrative Court to determine its status. The Supreme Administrative Court denied the party's appeal on 28 January 2015. Members of Tamarod will run as independents in the 2015 Egyptian parliamentary election.

Arabism Egypt Party

The Arabism Egypt Party is a political party in Egypt founded by Sami Anan. The party planned to run in the 2015 Egyptian parliamentary election, possibly as part of an electoral alliance. The Supreme Electoral Commission announced on 3 December 2014 that it had declined the establishment of the party and referred the case to the Supreme Administrative Court to determine its status. The Supreme Administrative Court accepted the party's appeal on 28 January 2015 allowing the party to be formed. It didn't win any seats in the House of Representatives in the election.

Constitution of Austria

The Constitution of Austria (German: Österreichische Bundesverfassung) is the body of all constitutional law of the Republic of Austria on the federal level. It is split up over many different acts. Its centerpiece is the Federal Constitutional Law (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz), which includes the most important federal constitutional provisions.

Apart from the B-VG, there are a large number of other constitutional acts (called Bundesverfassungsgesetze, singular Bundesverfassungsgesetz, abbrev. BVG, i.e. without the dash) and individual provisions in statutes and treaties which are designated as constitutional ("Verfassungsbestimmung"). For example, the B-VG does not include a bill of rights, but provisions on civil liberties are split up over different constitutional legislative acts.

Over time, both the B-VG and the numerous pieces of constitutional law supplementing it have undergone literally hundreds of minor and major amendments and revisions.

Council of State

A Council of State is a governmental body in a country, or a subdivision of a country, with a function that varies by jurisdiction. It may be the formal name for the cabinet or it may refer to a non-executives advisory body associated with a head of state. In some countries it also has a function as a supreme administrative court and sometimes regarded as the equivalent of a privy council.

Council of State (Greece)

In Greece, the Council of State (also Council of State; Greek: Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας) is the Supreme Administrative Court of Greece.

Court of Audit (Greece)

In Greece, the Chamber of Accounts (or Court of Accounts or Court of Auditors or Audit Court; Greek: Ελεγκτικό Συνέδριο (from French: Cour des Comptes)) is both an administrative organ (one of the three Big Bodies of the Greek Public Administration) and a Supreme Administrative Court with a special jurisdiction (while the jurisdiction of the Council of State is general). Hence, its role is double-natured.

Federal Administrative Court (Germany)

The Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) is one of the five federal supreme courts of Germany. It is the court of the last resort for generally all cases of administrative law, mainly disputes between citizens and the state. It hears appeals from the Oberverwaltungsgerichte, or Superior Administrative Courts, which, in turn, are the courts of appeals for decisions of the Verwaltungsgerichte (Administrative Courts).

However, cases concerning social security law belong to the jurisdiction of the Sozialgerichte (Social Courts) with the Bundessozialgericht as federal court of appeals, and cases of tax and customs law are decided by the Finanzgerichte (Finance Courts), and, ultimately, by the Bundesfinanzhof.

The Bundesverwaltungsgericht has its seat at the former Reichsgericht (Imperial Court of Justice) building in Leipzig.

Federal Administrative Court (Switzerland)

The Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland (German: Bundesverwaltungsgericht, French: Tribunal administratif fédéral, Italian: Tribunale amministrativo federale; Romansh: Tribunal administrative federal) is a Swiss federal court. It is the judicial authority to which decisions of the federal authorities of Switzerland can be appealed. The decisions of the Federal Administrative Court can generally be appealed, in turn, to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.

Federal courts of Switzerland

The federal judiciary of Switzerland consists of the Federal Supreme Court, the Federal Criminal Court, the Federal Patent Court and the Federal Administrative Court. These courts are charged with the application of Swiss federal law through the judicial process.

The Federal Supreme Court in Lausanne is established in the Swiss Federal Constitution as the supreme judicial authority of Switzerland. It is the court of appeal for all decisions of the cantonal courts of last instance, and also for most decisions of the three federal courts of first instance.

The Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona tries the (relatively few) criminal cases subject to federal criminal jurisdiction, such as cases involving organised crime, terrorism and crimes against federal institutions. It also decides disputes between cantonal prosecuting authorities. The Federal Administrative Court in St. Gallen reviews decisions made in application of federal administrative law that have been issued by federal and in some cases by cantonal authorities. The Federal Patent Court of Switzerland is a specialized court, which started hearing patent cases in 2012, taking jurisdiction from the cantonal courts.

Judicial system of Finland

Under the Constitution of Finland, everyone is entitled to have their case heard by a court or an authority appropriately and without undue delay. This is achieved through the judicial system of Finland.

The Finnish judicial system is mostly organized under the Ministry of Justice, and consists of

the independent courts of law and administrative courts

the prosecution service

the enforcement authorities, who see to the enforcement of judgments

the prison service and the probation service, who see to the enforcement of custodial sentences, and

the Bar Association and the other avenues of legal aid.

Judiciary of Ukraine

The judicial system of Ukraine is outlined in the 1996 Constitution of Ukraine. Before this there was no notion of judicial review nor any Supreme Court since 1991's Ukrainian independence. when it started being slowly restructured.Although judicial independence exist in principle, in practice there is little separation of juridical and political powers. Judges are subjected to pressure by political and business interests. Ukraine's court system is widely regarded as corrupt.Although there are still problems with the performance of the system, it is considered to have been much improved since the last judicial reform introduced in 2016. The Supreme Court is regarded as being an independent and impartial body, and has on several occasions ruled against the Ukrainian government.

Supreme Administrative Court (Austria)

In the Republic of Austria, the Supreme Administrative Court (German: Verwaltungsgerichtshof or VwGH) is the appellate court that decisions of the country's eleven administrative trial courts can be appealed to. The Supreme Administrative Court also resolves demarcation disputes within the administrative court system and hears complaints about administrative trial courts that fail to issue verdicts legally required of them in a timely manner.

The court does not have a fixed number of members. The theoretical minimum is seven; the actual number, as of June 2018, is about seventy.

Members are appointed by the President of Austria on nomination of the cabinet. With respect to most appointments, the cabinet is limited to choosing from a shortlist of three candidates provided by the court. The court is subdivided into 21 panels of three to five members each, each panel handling cases in a specific area of law.

The current president of the Supreme Administrative Court, appointed in January 2014, is Rudolf Thienel.

Supreme Administrative Court (Portugal)

The Supreme Administrative Court (Portuguese: Supremo Tribunal Administrativo) is a court in Portugal that deals with matters pertaining to administrative and fiscal legal relations. This court functions without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court of Portugal.

Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria

The Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria was first established on 25 November 1878 as one of the three divisions of the then-single Supreme Court. It did not exist during the Communist rule, but was restored in 1991.

The purpose of the Court is outlined in the Constitution:

"Article 125 (1) The Supreme Administrative Court shall exercise supreme judicial oversight as to the precise and equal application of the law in administrative justice.

(2) The Supreme Administrative Court shall rule on all challenges to the legality of acts of the Council of Ministers and the individual ministers, and of other acts established by law.

The Supreme Administrative Court became a separate institution with the promulgation of the Administrative Justice Law from 3 April 1912. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria of 1947 did not provide for judicial supervision over administrative acts, and as a result the Supreme Administrative Court was closed in 1948 by virtue of the Law on the Structure of People’s Courts. Bulgaria's seventh Grand National Assembly reestablished the Court in 1991.

The current Chairman of the Supreme Administrative Court is Georgi Kolev. He was appointed to this position in 2010. The Deputies are Veneta Markovska and Galina Solakova. The Court consists of two colleges and six divisions, each with a particular phere of responsibilities.

The Supreme Administrative Court publishes a periodical, the Administrative Justice Journal. It is used to describe the problems of Administrative Law and to present practices from the relevant European judicial institutions.

Supreme Administrative Court of Finland

The Supreme Administrative Court of Finland (Finnish: korkein hallinto-oikeus, Swedish: högsta förvaltningsdomstolen) is the highest court in the Finnish administrative court system, parallel to the Supreme Court of Finland. Its jurisdiction covers the legality of the decisions of government officials, and its decisions are final. Appeals are made to the Supreme Administrative Court from the decisions of the administrative courts of Helsinki, Turku, Hämeenlinna, Kouvola, Kuopio, Vaasa, Oulu, Rovaniemi and Åland Islands, the Market Court, and the Council of State.

In most issues, it is possible to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland from the judgment of the administrative court. However, in some case areas of administrative law, an appeal requires a leave of appeal from the Supreme Administrative Court. The most important such area are insurance cases. In some restricted areas of law, for example, in parking fines, the decision of the administrative court is final and cannot be appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court.

In administrative matters, the Supreme Administrative Court has the sole power to grant extraordinary means of appeals, which are the annulment of a decision, a complaint against it, or an extension of the already-lapsed time of appeal.

The Council of State, i.e. the Finnish government, acts in some cases as an administrative authority. The decisions it makes in this competence can be appealed against on the grounds of legality of the decision.

As in all Finnish administrative courts, the legal costs of both parties in the Supreme Administrative Court are born, unless it is reasonable to award the prevailing party all or part of the costs. Nonetheless, when the authority prevails against a private claimant, it must bear all its costs, unless the private party has made a frivolous claim.

The Court has a President, 20 Justices and 4 Temporary Justices, organized into three chambers of five Justices. In addition, there are 16 Expert Counsellors. In cases concerning water, environmental protection and intellectual property, the chamber is composed of five Justices and two Expert Counsellors. In 2011, the Court processed 4044 cases, with an average time of hearing of 12.2 months.

Supreme Administrative Court of Poland

The Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of Poland (Polish: Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny) is the court of last resort in administrative cases e.g. those betweens private citizens (or corporations) and administrative bodies. This court deals with appeals from lower administrative courts called Voivodship Administrative Courts.

Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden

The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden (Swedish: Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen, before 2011 Regeringsrätten, acronym RR or RegR) is the supreme court and the third and final tier for administrative court cases in Sweden, and is located in Stockholm. It has a parallel status to that of the Supreme Court of Sweden (Högsta Domstolen), which is the supreme court for criminal and civil law cases.

It hears cases which have been decided by one of the four Administrative courts of appeal, which represent the second tier for administrative court cases in Sweden. Before a case can be decided, a leave to appeal must be obtained, which is typically only granted when the case is of interest as a precedent. The bulk of its caseload consist of taxation and social security cases.

Justices of the Supreme Administrative Court (the Swedish term is justitieråd) are appointed by government, but the court as an institution is independent of the Riksdag, and the government is not able to interfere with the decisions of the court. By law, there shall be fourteen Justices of the Supreme Administrative Court or such a higher a number as may be required, at the government's discretion. As of 2009, there were eighteen Justices in the court. One of the Justices serves as president and head of the court, and is appointed by the government to this function.

Since 3 January 2011, Justice Mats Melin serves as the court's president.

In total the court has approximately 100 employees.

Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic

The Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic (Nejvyšší správní soud České republiky) is the court of highest authority on issues of procedural and administrative propriety. It also has jurisdiction over many political matters, such as the formation and closure of political parties, jurisdictional boundaries between government entities, and the eligibility of persons to stand for public office. It also adjudicates in disciplinary proceedings against judges and state prosecutors. It is the court of second instance in actions against the decisions of authorities.

Similarly to other countries in Europe, administrative justice is considered a separate branch of the judiciary in the Czech Republic.

Supreme Constitutional Court (Egypt)

The Supreme Constitutional Court (Egyptian Arabic: المحكمة الدستورية العليا‎, El Mahkama El Dustūrīya El ‘Ulyā) is an independent judicial body in Egypt, located in the Cairo suburb of Maadi.

The Supreme Constitutional Court is the highest judicial power. It alone undertakes the judicial control in respect of the constitutionality of the laws and regulations and shall undertake the interpretation of the legislative texts in the manner prescribed by law. In addition, the court is empowered to settle competence disputes between the judicial and the administrative courts.

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