Albania: The Administrative Courts and their impact on the public administration functioning
Dorina Asllani Ndreka, Eurofast Global
Since May 2012, the Parliament of Albania has approved the law for the creation and functioning of the administrative courts, at all the three levels of judiciary, including the Supreme Court's Administrative College. At the moment, the administrative disputes are reviewed by the same courts that settle civil and criminal cases. With the exception of some rules and procedures, the administrative dispute is adjudicated, in accordance with the Code of Civil Procedure, according to the same rules as the other civil cases.
It is expected that the administrative court will be operable until the end of 2013. The implementation and the procedure of specialised courts for the judgment of administrative cases will influence the performance of administrative bodies, and as a consequence it will improve the climate for the business activity, by increasing the possibility to appeal an administrative act or decision considered unlawful or unfair. The main improvements will focus on these points:
The considerable reduction of the terms of settlement of an administrative case by defining quite different procedures from the ordinary civil trials. The existing procedure does not have maximum time-frames, within which the court must adjudicate, but the new law has specific terms, which are quite short compared with the current ones, reaching up to 60 days in the court of first instance.
Another improvement is the increase of the number of cases classified as administrative ones, to raise the number of cases which will be settling according to the new regulations.
To ensure the trial within a short time, the law gives a more active role to the court during the process. Furthermore, even the public administration bodies are more involved during the trial, by having the burden of proof regarding the legality of the administrative act, even when they are sued as defendant.
The new law foresees another interesting innovation, which is not applicable at the moment. Some of the decisions of the court are not appealable, such as:
The penalty for administrative violations, amounting to less than 20 times the value of the minimum wage;
The administrative act that consists of monetary obligations amounting to less than 20 times the value of the minimum wage;
The administrative act that has refused to deliver a monetary obligation amounting to less than 20 times the value of the minimum wage; and
Administrative disputes stemming from social and health insurance, economic aid and disability payments, worth less than 20 times the value of the minimum wage.
The judges for some of the administrative courts are already appointed, and it is expected that these courts will be efficient before the end of the year. While waiting to see their practical effect, it is considered one of the most effective reforms that will improve considerably the conduct of the public administration bodies, making them more responsible and prudent in fulfilling their legal duties.
Dorina Asllani Ndreka (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Eurofast Global, Tirana Office
Tel: +355 42 248 548