The experience of the European administrative courts’ system points to the conclusion that the immediate and effective execution of justice in administrative proceedings could be ensured by the mechanism of selection of appeals (leave to appeal).
An international conference “New Challenges and Experiences in Administrative Proceedings” dedicated to the 20-year anniversary of the establishment of the administrative courts of Lithuania and organized by the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania and Vilnius University took place in Vilnius on 31st of May. Judges, academics and foreign guests together with the representatives of legislative and executive institutions of Lithuania were seeking possible solutions to the problem of so-called “slow justice” in administrative courts.
According to the President of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (SACL) Gintaras Kryževičius, an unstoppable flow of cases, limited funding of the courts and maximal use of human recourses are a matter of concern. He emphasized that “the examination of an administrative case roughly takes sixteen to eighteen months, which is an unjustifiably long term. It is most unfortunate that people who expect justice to be carried out in a timely manner have to wait for too long. That is the reason we are looking for solutions to this problem on the basis of successful examples of the courts’ systems”.
In the opinion of the President of the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland Kari Kuusiniemi, the main advantage of the mechanism of selection of appeals (leave to appeal) undoubtedly is prompt execution of justice. According to the guest, a slow justice equals denied justice. Leave to appeal provides courts with an opportunity to manage the flow of administrative cases and rationally allocate human recourses. “In Finland such system of the examination of administrative cases functions effectively for more than thirty years already and the extension of leave to appeal for cases of all categories is currently being discussed”, - the representative of Finland stated in his presentation.
The representative of the German university of administrative sciences (Speyer) prof. dr. Ulrich Stelkens presented the model of the limited right to appeal in his country and considered that the success of the presented reform depends on the recognition of need of such a reform by the courts themselves. „In Germany the initiative of the reform came from the politicians, which was the reason certain aspects of utmost importance to courts and the execution of justice were not taken into consideration during the reform “, - Ulrich Stelkens highlighted.
Assoc. prof. dr. at Vilnius University Faculty of Law Jurgita Paužaitė-Kulvinskienė presented a report on changing of the paradigm of the appeal in the administrative proceedings. In her opinion, the implementation of the idea of leave to appeal in the administrative proceedings is possible, but it is important to take into consideration all the potential risks in order to ensure its constitutional justification.
In the conference presentations also were made by the President of the Supreme Administrative Court of Poland prof. habil. dr. Marek Zirk-Sadowski, the President of the Administrative Cassation Court Mykhailo Smokovych, Judge of the Court of Justice of the European Union dr. Irmantas Jarukaitis, Attorney prof. habil. dr. Vilenas Vadapalas.
The President of SACL Gintaras Kryževičius expressed his gratitude to the Minister of Justice Elvinas Jankevičius and the Deputy Chair of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs Stasys Šedbaras for the smooth cooperation and the attention to the courts’ initiatives. Also, he pointed out that the challenges discussed during the conference could be met by common and united actions of all authorities.
On 13th of June Minister of Justice Elvinas Jankevičius, the President of SACL Gintaras Kryževičius and Deputy Chair of Administrative Disputes Commission Vytautas Kurpuvesas presented the above-mentioned leave to appeal institute to the public during a press conference held in the Ministry of Justice. Amendments of law regarding this new system will have to be approved by the Government and the Parliament in a near future.