The new Act Determining the Intervention Measures to Mitigate the Consequences of the Second Wave of COVID-19 Epidemic also called the Sixth Anti-Corona Act or PKP6, affects 38 laws. As the epidemic can also have an impact on the position of the parties in administrative proceedings, by restricting or preventing the conduct of proceedings, the legislator with PKP6 also intervened in the field of regulation of administrative proceedings. With the entry into force of PKP6, a new Chapter XXII.a entitled MANAGEMENT OF THE PROCEDURE IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY was added to the General Administrative Procedure Act (ZUP), which contains Article 306.a, the content of which is presented below.
It follows from the very name of the chapter that Article 306.a of the ZUP is not a temporary provision that would be valid only during the COVID-19 epidemic but will also apply in the event of natural and other serious disasters or similar emergencies to a greater extent, that can affect the position of the parties in the administrative procedure, limit or prevent the administrative decision-making of the body in the administrative procedure.
In accordance with the aforementioned amendment, the ZUP will enable the government to determine, in the event of extraordinary events, temporary measures, the bodies to which these measures apply and the period of validity of the measures. Such interim measures must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to safeguard the position of the parties and to enable decision-making in administrative matters and will only take effect with the entry into force of a government decree in each individual case of an emergency.
Depending on the circumstances of the emergency, the government will be able to decide on one or more interim measures, choosing between the following:
- determination of a different territorial competence of bodies or holders of public authority,
- making applications outside business hours and on public holidays,
- submitting applications electronically without a secure electronic signature with a qualified certificate,
- restriction on submitting applications directly to the Authority,
- restriction of public participation in procedural acts in order to protect the health of participants,
- restriction of the exercise of the right to inspect the case documents on the authority’s premises (where a copy of the documents may be sent to the party),
- determination of service by filing in an electronic mailbox that is not a secure electronic mailbox (if the addressee agrees to such a method of service and is allowed to become acquainted with the filed writing),
- extension of the deadline for fulfilment of obligations set by an individual administrative act (at the request of a party),
- extension of the deadline for issuing and service of the decision, and
- interruption of the course of all procedural and material deadlines, but only if the extraordinary event prevents the operation of the body or prevents or significantly impedes the exercise of rights and fulfilment of obligations of the parties, except in urgent cases.
Those provisional measures may be ordered only for the duration of the individual emergency, but for a maximum of three months. If the emergency lasts longer than three months, the government will be able to extend the temporary measures, but for a maximum of three months each time. In doing so, the government will have to check the circumstances of the emergency on a monthly basis and the justification of the interim measures.
Given the current situation in the country and around the world, it can be expected that the adoption of the regulation will soon achieve its purpose in terms of new government decrees based on the new provision of the ZUP.