Administrative proceedings

If you disagree with a decision or wish to complain about an action of a state institution or agent, you can appeal to the Administrative court (Halduskohus).


Usually, a decision of a state institution or agent, such as a Ministry or Tax and Customs Board, has to be appealed in two steps: 

  1. You must first follow the regular complaint procedure of the particular state institution. This is most often a challenge to the same institution, which took the decision, or to the authority that exercises supervisory control over that administrative authority. Ensure that the deadline for the appeal is not missed. The procedure and time limits for the appeal must always be indicated in the decision you are appealing.
  2. After you have received the decision of the institution on the challenge, if you still disagree with it, you can file an appeal to the Administrative court.

example If you disagree with a decision issued by an official from the Police and Border Guard you must first file an appeal to the Head of the Police and Border Guard. Only then can you appeal that decision to the Administrative court. 

Right to a fair trial

This Guide will further explain what guarantees you have when your case is examined by the court, namely your right to a fair trial. The Administrative court proceedings must comply with all guarantees of the right to a fair trial. Your right to a fair trial starts from the moment you submit your first application to the court and lasts until the implementation of the court’s final decision. 

Role of the judge

As an individual in this process you need more protection because your opponent is the State. Therefore, a judge in an Administrative court plays a more active role than judges in the proceedings of other courts. In an Administrative court the judge has a duty to carry out an independent investigation to establish what really happened in the case. This is to your advantage because it ensures that the judge does not overlook an important issue if you forgot to mention it or did not understand it. 

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education