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Law on Administrative Procedure. What’s Changing for Citizens?

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Law on Administrative Procedure is finally signed and recognized by the expert community as one of the most influential pieces of legislation

After being signed by the President, the Law “On Administrative Procedure”, which the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform advocated for during more than 20 years, was recognized by the expert community as one of the most influential pieces of legislation.

Adoption of the Law also had great significance for Ukraine acquiring the status of a candidate for EU membership, because each EU member state has a similar legislative act. The law provides for a fundamentally new philosophy of relations between citizens and the state, which is based on the maximum observance of human rights during the adoption of individual acts (e.g., the right to be heard, the right to review case materials, etc.).

ОSuch law alone gradually allows to replace various procedures contained in dozens of other laws, since common procedural provisions are laid down in one act. Instead, individual laws contain, if necessary, only specifics for certain categories of cases. Such legal field is easier for both an ordinary citizen, a foreign investor, and the public administration itself.

Among the positive novelties of the Law on Administrative Procedure are as follows:

  • establishment of a person’s right to be heard before an unfavorable decision against him/her is made. This may allow to change the position of the government body and to move towards a positive decision (for example, not depriving a person of his/her pension if he/she explained everything);
  • introduction of the “interested persons” concept. This should prevent conflicts and contribute to the adoption of balanced decisions (for example, the park near your home will not be built on until you are involved in the case and your opinion is heard);
  • establishment of the administrative authorities’ duty to justify adverse decisions and specify the procedure for appealing them (the decision must explain in detail why it was adopted despite having negative consequences for you, as well as how and where it can be appealed);
  • the principle of formality, according to which government authorities must collect information and documents rather than transfer these duties onto citizens (you do not need to go to various authorities and collect certificates and approvals);
  • simple rules regarding “representation” in administrative proceedings, in particular, without a notary-certified power of attorney for most cases (this will save you time and money);
  • the rule of consent by silence when receiving approvals from other authorities (if the authority in question has not approved something within the specified period, it is considered to have no objections);
  • establishment of the rule on the entry into force of an administrative act from the moment of person’s notification (rather than mere adoption) and the of the procedure for such notification (the decision will not come into force for you until you are provided with the opportunity to familiarize yourself with it);
  • creation of effective conditions for appealing the administrative acts (you do not need to immediately go to court and spend a lot of time and money there; you can try appealing the decision to a higher or even to the same body, where a panel for review of complaints will function with the possibility of involvement of public representatives);
  • resolving the issue of revocation / invalidation of administrative acts (now, there will be clear rules for the termination of administrative acts depending on various circumstances).

The Law “On Administrative Procedure” creates advantages both for the authorities themselves and for honest officials. After all, an official cannot be forced to make a secret and illegal decision if it is necessary to undergo an inclusive procedure.

Thus, the basis for new, civilized relations between citizens and the state has been laid. But there is still a lot of work ahead for the adequate implementation of this Law.