The consequences of revoking the legal basis of the decision granting rights or imposing obligations

Publication / 16.09.2023

The Supreme Administrative Court in September 2023, in the case ref. II OSK 3107/20, examined an interesting issue concerning the fate of a decision granting an entitlement to a party after repealing the provisions that formed the legal basis for the decision.

The court unequivocally ruled that when a provision that was the basis for granting a specific right or imposing an obligation is repealed, the expiration of such a decision on the grounds that it is pointless within the meaning of Article 162 § 1(1) of the Administrative Procedure Code (APC) is not permissible. According to the decision-making panel, such an effect can occur only exceptionally, and its occurrence depends on the introduction into the legal system of a provision that dictates that a change in the state of the law should entail such an effect, i.e. that final administrative decisions should be subject to rescission and their objectlessness ruled.

The court pointed out that a change in the legal provisions constituting the legal basis of a previously issued administrative decision, or the revocation of such a legal basis, does not affect the relations that are already binding, since the administrative decision continues to be in force, producing its own proper effects in terms of the powers already granted and obligations imposed. It is irrelevant to the enforceability of the decision that different legal regulations apply in the new state of affairs than on the date of adjudication, which would make the direction of the issued decision different now. The legal effect of the lapse of a decision can only be derived if it follows directly from the law.

The institution of the lapse of a decision serves to repeal the substantive and procedural effects of a decision that has become irrelevant and when its elimination is in the public interest or in the interest of a party, and both of these prerequisites must occur together. The court also referred to the view, raised in the literature, that the existence and effectiveness of legal relations that arose before the effective date of new regulations governing a given matter differently are affected by the new norms only if they are effective retroactively. Thus, if the new legal regulation does not contain different provisions as to the fate of decisions issued before its entry into force, these decisions will continue to be binding, despite the fact that the legal basis that justified their issuance has ceased to exist or has changed.