European Code of Good Administrative Practice

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EUROPEAN CODE OF GOOD ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE - (EKDPA) ̶ in Poland previously known as the European Code of Good Administration, adopted by the European Parliament on September 6, 2001. It was created as an interpretation of art. 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union adopted in Nice in 2000 - the so-called → right to good administration - it states, inter alia, that every person has the right to: have their arguments heard before taking administrative measures that could affect them negatively; inspect files of their concern; to obtain from the administration justification for each decision issued. It is important that every person has the right to compensation from the EU for damage caused by institutions or officials during the performance of their duties, in accordance with the general common provisions in the law of the Member States. EKDPA applies to all officials and other officers who are covered by the official's status. The Code contains general principles of good administrative practice that apply to all contacts of the institution and its administration with the entity, unless these contacts are subject to law. The basic principles of EKDPA are: rule of law - the official pays particular attention to the fact that decisions regarding the rights or interests of individuals have a legal basis and their content is in accordance with applicable law; non-discrimination - when examining the applications of individuals and when making decisions, the official ensures compliance with the principle of equal treatment, so individual people in the same situation are treated in a comparable way; proportionality - in the course of making decisions, the official ensures that the actions adopted remain commensurate with the objective pursued, in particular avoids restricting or imposing citizen rights if such restrictions or burdens would be disproportionate to the purpose of the activities carried out; prohibition of abuse of powers - an official may only use his powers to achieve the purposes with which he has been entrusted, such powers are granted by virtue of relevant provisions; impartiality and independence - an official acts impartially and independently, is obliged to refrain from any arbitrary actions that may have a negative impact on the situation of individuals, and from any form of favouritism, regardless of the reasons for such behaviour; objectivity - in the course of making decisions, the official is required to take into account all relevant factors and assign each of them their due significance and not to take into account any circumstances not pertaining to the case; honesty and courtesy - the clerk acts in an impartial, honest and reasonable manner, remains a service provider and behaves properly, remains available. EKDA also contains many other regulations regarding such issues as: legitimate expectations and consistent action and advice; principle of replying to letters in the citizen's language; acknowledgment of receipt and indication of the relevant official; commitment to transfer the case to the appropriate organizational unit of the institution; the right to hear and make statements; the appropriate time limit for making a decision; obligation to state reasons; information on appeal options; notification of a decision. The EKDA also contains regulations related to the right to information - art. 22 concerns requests for information and, among others, provides that the official shall advise within the limits of his competence on the initiation of any administrative procedure and that he shall ensure that the information provided is clear and understandable. In Poland, the Ombudsman's Office published EKDPA (under the old name) with substantive commentary referring, among others, to Polish legal conditions, although since 2007 (the last sixth edition) there have been changes in Polish legislation, in addition the official EKDA translation sometimes uses other terms. EKDA is termed soft law, as indicated in the introduction of the EU ombudsman publishing house, and is an important instrument for the implementation of principles of good administration in the work of EU institutions. It allows citizens to understand their rights and ensures their observation, and also increases public interest in an open, effective and independent European administration. The European Parliament recommends implementing the concept of "good administration" in the practice of the administrative systems of EU Member States. Polish administrative courts, just like the European Court of Justice, refer in their jurisprudence to the principles of the right to good administration. [J. Itrich-Drabarek]

Literature: European Ombudsman, European Code of Good Administrative Behaviour, Strasbourg 2015 ■ J. Świątkiewicz, European Code of Good Administration (introduction, text and commentary on the application of the Code in the conditions of Polish administrative procedures), ed. 6, Office of the Ombudsman, Warsaw 2007.

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