Protection against a failure to act

An action for the failure to act is a new form of legal protection, provided for in section 79 of the Code of Administrative Justice. This type of action is open to any person who, despite having exhausted all the existing remedies before an administrative authority, was not able to obtain a decision or an attestation that the competent authority was to issue.

The procedural precondition for this type of action to be admissible is that despite invoking all the remedies the administrative procedure offers (provided for, in most cases, by the Code of Administrative Procedure), the competent administrative authority remains inactive.

The failure to act relates, in practice, not only to failures to deal with a pending matter timely, but also to disputes over competence. In the former case, the action for failure to act is not the typical remedy; a more common and direct way to compel an authority to dispose of a matter in a timely fashion is to submit a complaint to the authority superior to it.

In the latter case, the failure to act and the need for individual protection is often resulting from competence transfers between state authorities and the authorities of self-governing territorial units. This may lead to uncertainty as to which of the authorities is competent to act.

If the action is successful, the court will issue a judgment ordering the administrative authority to rule or to give an attestation within a time frame set by the court. Should the administrative authority fail to comply with the court’s judgment in a timely fashion, the court can enforce its judgment by imposing financial penalties.