The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania was formed and started its activities from the 1st of January 2001, following the amendment of Law on the Establishment of Administrative Courts of 19th of September 2000.
The Supreme Administrative Court is composed of the President, the Vice-president and other justices. At present there are nineteen justices serving at the Court. Cases at the Supreme Administrative Court are heard by a chamber of three justices, an extended chamber of five or seven justices or a plenary session of the Supreme Administrative Court.
The Lithuanian system of administrative courts consists of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania and two regional administrative courts (Vilnius Regional Administrative Court and Regional Administrative Court of Regions which has four chambers – Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai and Panevėžys). According to the Law on Administrative Proceedings, the Supreme Administrative Court is the appellate instance for decisions, rulings and orders passed by regional administrative courts as the courts of the first instance.
The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, as the supreme judicial institution in administrative cases, develops uniform case-law of administrative courts in interpreting and applying laws and other legal acts. Individuals, persons defending public interest and other persons, defending themselves against unlawful actions of state authorities (officials), usually first apply to courts of the first instance, the decisions of which may then be appealed against the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania. Rulings of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania are final and not subject to appeal.
The Supreme Administrative Court is also the first and final instance for certain categories of administrative cases assigned to its jurisdiction by law. According to the Law on Administrative Proceedings, it hears petitions on the reopening of proceedings in administrative cases ended by res judicata court judgements, investigates requests by entities of municipal administration to present conclusions whether a member of municipal administration has broken an oath, as well as requests by State Data Protection Inspectorate to address EU judicial authority where European Commission decision is in doubt. Furthermore, resolution of disputes concerning breaches of the laws on election or referendum is also assigned to the jurisdiction of administrative courts. Persons specified in the Law on Presidential Elections, the Law on Elections to the Seimas, the Law on Referendum and the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils are entitled to file petitions concerning decisions of the Central Electoral Commission directly to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania.
Since 2015 the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania is also assigned to hear cases concerning requests of municipal councils and to present conclusions as to whether a member of a municipal council or a mayor, against whom a procedure of loss of mandate has been started, has breached their oath and (or) failed to exercise the powers assigned to them by laws. The findings are final and not subject to appeal.
Certain individuals may apply directly to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania in particular cases prescribed by law. For example, members of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania (the Seimas), courts, the Seimas Ombudsperson, the Ombudsperson for Children Rights, the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, the professional self-governance associations established by law to carry out public functions and prosecutors for the state are entitled to challenge the legitimacy of regulatory administrative enactment passed by central entities of state administration as well as legitimacy of general acts adopted by societies, political parties, political organisations or associations by applying directly to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania.
As it has been noted before, one of the many responsibilities that the Supreme Administrative Court has is developing uniform practice of administrative courts in interpretation and application of statutes and other legal acts. For that purpose the Supreme Administrative Court periodically issues its bulletin under the title "Practice of Administrative Courts". Interpretation with regard to the application of statutes and other legal acts found in the decisions, rulings and orders which are published in the bulletin of the Supreme Administrative Court shall be taken into account by courts, state and other institutions as well as by other entities when applying these statutes and other legal acts.
The Supreme Administrative Curt of Lithuania also participates in deciding on issues of jurisdiction arising between administrative courts and courts of general jurisdiction and supervises the administrative activity of regional administrative courts.