2. Covid-19 Act: Amendments to the procedural rules in the public law sector
Federal Act on accompanying measures to COVID-19 in administrative proceedings, in proceedings before the Administrative Courts and in proceedings before the Higher Administrative court and the Constitutional Court
The COVID-19 crisis also affects the work of administrative authorities, administrative courts and the Higher courts of public law (VfGH, VwGH).
The legislator reacts as follows:
- Periods in pending proceedings and limitation periods shall in principle be interrupted until the end of 30 April 2020. This applies to all periods whose event triggering the period falls within the period after the entry into force of this Federal Act (22 March 2020, 0:00 o´clock), as well as periods that have not yet expired by the time this Federal Act enters into force. They shall begin to run again on 1 May 2020. However, there are certain exceptions (outside the scope of application of the Administrative Procedure Act, not in the case of time limits under the Epidemics Act, by decision in individual cases, etc.).
- The period from the entry into force of this Federal Act until the end of 30 April 2020 shall not be included in the period in which an application initiating proceedings (section 13 para. 8 AVG) is to be filed.
In addition, the Federal Chancellor was authorised to extend or shorten the interruption of time limits or to provide for further general exceptions to the interruption by ordinance, insofar as this is necessary to prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19.
In addition, this new Federal Act contains special provisions concerning
- oral hearings (mündliche Verhandlungen und Vernehmungen),
- oral communication between authorities and parties, and
- termination of the activity of an authority as a result of COVID-19,
when measures must be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 that restrict freedom of movement or interpersonal contact.
Higher Administrative Court Act 1985 and Constitutional Court Act 1953
According to the new legal situation, the Higher Administrative Court can carry out consultations and resolutions in form of circulation resolutions.
In contrast, the Constitutional Court only has this possibility (optionally also by means of telecommunications) if it "cannot meet within a reasonable period of time in case of extraordinary circumstances. In addition, the Constitutional Court may, upon request, extend the period for repairing the legal situation (law or ordinance) following a quashing decision if, in the case of extraordinary circumstances, a succession regulation cannot be issued in time for legal or factual reasons.
Federal Constitutional Act
The Federal Government also has the possibility now, of passing a resolution by a circulation resolution or in a videoconference. In addition, it is explicitly anchored that decisions of the federal government must be made unanimously.
Please note: This newsletter merely provides general information and does not constitute legal advice of any kind from Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH. The newsletter cannot replace individual legal consultation. Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH assumes no liability whatsoever for the content and correctness of the newsletter.
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