What is the contentious administrative appeal

What is the contentious administrative appeal
Published on: 5 April 2024

Table of contents

Surely, on more than one occasion, you have heard or read that, in the face of a certain event, only an administrative appeal can be lodged. However, it is possible that you have not investigated exactly what this is and you are left in doubt. If so, as lawyers specialising in administrative law, we will try to answer any questions you may have. We want to talk about it in depth so that you understand exactly what it consists of.

Definition of contentious administrative appeal

A contentious-administrative appeal is essentially a legal procedure brought against a general provision or a presumed or express act carried out by any local, autonomous or central body of the Public Administration that is enacted with the aim of putting an end to the administrative process.

In addition, it can be used against the inactivity of the public administration in the face of a request made by an interested party and against material actions that go against the law or that constitute a de facto action. Likewise, the aforementioned public bodies can also make use of it when they consider that a decision is harmful to the public interest.

Who can lodge an administrative contentious appeal?

The first thing to say in this regard is that the national legal system provides for specialised courts for contentious-administrative appeals, which are the courts where these types of appeals must be lodged.

Specifically, there is a Contentious-Administrative Court in each locality, as well as a higher central court in each autonomous community. They also have a chamber in the different High Courts of Justice, in the National High Court and in the Supreme Court.

The regulation stipulates that all natural or legal persons, associations, trade unions, groups, corporations and entities with a legitimate interest and the right to do so may lodge a contentious-administrative appeal. Likewise, the State Administration, the Administration of each autonomous community, local entities and the Public Prosecutor's Office may also do so.

Is the presence of a lawyer and a solicitor necessary?

The laws in force relating to the regulation of contentious-administrative appeals only provide for the compulsory involvement of a lawyer in the proceedings, although the door is left open to the optional involvement of a procurator. In the event that they are not used, notifications are delivered directly to the lawyer.

It is only compulsory for a procurator and a lawyer to appear in administrative litigation proceedings on both sides when the appeal is brought before the corresponding chambers of the High Courts of Justice, the National High Court and the Supreme Court or before a collegiate body.

However, the case of civil servants is special. Specifically, it is established that for contentious-administrative appeals lodged against acts relating to statutory rights or personnel matters, they have the possibility of acting on their own, i.e. without a lawyer or solicitor. In all other cases, they will have the same obligations as any other subject.

What is the form in which a contentious administrative appeal is filed?

This is a very important aspect and one that is often not explained in sufficient detail to the interested parties when it is filed. Specifically, it is essential that the appeal is initiated by presenting a simple written document containing the relevant information regarding the identification of the person filing the appeal and the body to which it is addressed. The act, inactivity, provision or action of the Public Administration to be appealed against must also be specified. The signature of the lawyer representing the appellant and, if necessary, that of the solicitor must appear at the end.

In addition, this document must be accompanied by a document containing the act in question that is to be appealed, as well as any other document that proves that the indispensable requirements for the right to file the contentious-administrative appeal are met.

What are the time limits for lodging an administrative appeal?

It should be borne in mind that the maximum time limit for lodging a contentious administrative appeal depends on many factors. Here we are going to explain all the cases so that it is much clearer for you.

If there is notification of the decision. In the event that the Public Administration has sent a written notification with a resolution that puts an end to the administrative process, if you wish to appeal, you must do so within a maximum period of 2 months from the date of receipt of the notification.

If you wish to appeal against a presumed decision. In this case, the law contemplates a period of up to 6 months for the presentation of the contentious-administrative appeal counted from the date of the presumed act in question.

If there is administrative silence. The administrative procedure may end if the Public Administration does not respond within a certain period of time. In general, this is considered to be three months. Once this period has elapsed, the appellant has 2 months to lodge an appeal.

If the public administration does not execute the final acts. It may be the case that a Public Administration grants a right to a subject but does not carry out the relevant acts to comply with the decision. Specifically, if this does not happen within 30 days of the issuance of said resolution, a period of 2 months is opened for the filing of the contentious-administrative appeal.

If an appeal for reconsideration has been lodged previously. The period, in this case, is also 2 months from the moment in which the appeal for reconsideration is rejected by the Public Administration or that this is deduced by administrative silence.

If it is a dispute between different public administrations. Unless a different period is established, this will always be 2 months.

Types of contentious-administrative appeals

It is possible to distinguish between three different types of contentious-administrative appeals. However, we will not refer to the ordinary type, as this is the one we have focused on in the previous sections and does not require further explanation.

The abbreviated contentious-administrative appeal

It is possible to file this type of contentious-administrative appeal in all cases where the amount of the appeal does not exceed 13,000 euros. They are also valid for decisions on aliens and decisions rejecting a request for political asylum. On the other hand, career civil servants also have the possibility of using it in matters related to personnel issues, provided that they do not refer to the creation or termination of their service relationship with the public body of which they form part.

Contentious-administrative appeals for the protection of fundamental rights

Generally, this type of appeal is used to request and demand judicial protection for the rights and freedoms set out in Article 53.2 of the Spanish Constitution. In this case, the time limit for lodging an appeal is only 10 days, which can be counted from the moment the notification of the act is received.

We hope to have been of help and to have resolved all your doubts about such a complex matter as the contentious-administrative appeal. If you have any doubts or need advice on this subject, do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to solve your doubts or problems.

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