Appeal. What it is, examples, time limit

example Appeal
Published on: 28 April 2024

Table of contents

El recurso de alzada, según la Ley 29/2015, es el medio de impugnación establecido para todos aquellos actos administrativos que no ponen fin a la vía administrativa. Por ello, y teniendo en cuenta que es bastante habitual hacer uso de él, aquí queremos explicar todos los datos relevantes que le atañen.

What is an appeal for review?

The appeal to appeal Law 29/2015, on Common Administrative Procedure for Public Administrations, is the form established to challenge administrative acts that do not put an end to administrative proceedings and that are issued by bodies subject to a hierarchical superior. Its objective is to urge the latter to review and modify or annul the decision issued by his subordinate.
Appeals are therefore administrative in nature, not judicial. Therefore, it is not necessary to have a lawyer or a solicitor to file and process them. However, it is always advisable to have the services of a lawyer who is responsible for drafting the appeal on the basis of the necessary legal formalities and invoking the different applicable rules.

But which decisions put an end to administrative proceedings?

This is something we need to know when it comes to determining whether we can resort to appeals or whether we will have to resort to contentious-administrative proceedings. Specifically, the acts that put an end to administrative proceedings are those issued by administrative bodies with no hierarchical superior, by members and bodies of the Government, those related to patrimonial responsibility procedures and contracts, covenants and agreements. Decisions on appeals are also included in this category.

How to file an appeal?

The first step is to draw up the document once we have received notification of the act we wish to challenge. It must include the following information:

  • Name and surname, ID number and other personal information about the interested party.
  • Decision number identifying the administrative act to be challenged.
  • Detailed description of the reason for the challenge.
  • Date, place and signature of the interested party.
  • Address for the purpose of notifications.
  • Body, unit or centre to which the appeal is being sent.

There are many examples of appeals on the Internet. However, our advice is that, when determining the structure of the document, it is best to first specify your personal details and the body to which it is addressed. You should then give details of the act, followed by the reasoned grounds you consider appropriate. Obviously, these should be based on a series of legal grounds (this is where the advice of a lawyer specialising in administrative law becomes particularly important) and, finally, on the evidence you consider appropriate. This should be attached at the end.
It should be remembered that appeals do not suspend the execution of the contested act, with the exception that it is accredited that it may cause damage that is difficult to repair or that causes of nullity of full nullity are alleged.
For its part, we must also take into account the time limit for appeals provided for by law. This is set at one calendar month from the date of notification of the act (express acts). On the other hand, if the act has been finalised by administrative silence, the interested party may file an appeal at any time after its effects come into force.

The decision on the appeal

Once the appeal has been lodged with the hierarchical superior body that issued the contested act, a series of aspects must be taken into account. The first of these is that the public administration is obliged to issue a decision and notify the interested party within a maximum period of 3 months. But what happens if it fails to do so? Administrative silence in this type of case has special considerations:

  • Negative administrative silence. When the contested act was express, that is to say, it was issued and notified to the interested party, the silence will be considered as a rejection of the appeal.
  • Positive administrative silence. On the other hand, if the contested act took effect through administrative silence, a new silence with respect to the resolution of this appeal will be considered to be positive, unless it refers to activities that may damage the environment, the transfer of powers of public domain or service, or procedures of patrimonial responsibility.

When appeals are upheld, the act is automatically annulled or amended. However, when they are rejected, they remain in force. Moreover, since the decision exhausts the administrative channels, the interested party can only continue with his or her claims through the courts. With one exception, however.

The extraordinary appeal for review

As its name suggests, this is an extraordinary appeal, subsequent to the appeal for review in administrative proceedings. Specifically, it can only be lodged in those cases in which the contested act:

  • It was subject to prevarication, fraud, violence, bribery or any other offence.
  • It was issued without having taken into account documents of essential value that appeared subsequently.
  • It was issued in error of fact.
  • It took as evidence documents or testimonies that, by means of a final court ruling, were subsequently declared false.

The special characteristics of the extraordinary appeal for review mean that it can be lodged between 3 months and 4 years from the issuance of the decision rejecting the appeal that ended the administrative procedure. The body competent to resolve it will have 3 months to do so. Administrative silence is also negative in this case.

In short, the appeal is a very valuable tool for challenging acts that do not put an end to administrative proceedings, as it invokes the hierarchical superior body of the issuer. However, its wording can be complex. This is why the services of a lawyer specialised in administrative law can be very useful. The chances of obtaining a favourable resolution to our interests are much higher when we rely on a qualified professional.

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