The Constitutional Tribunal has responded to an inquiry made by the Regional Administrative Court in Warsaw. On May 2nd, the Tribunal ruled that art. 156, § 2 of the act from June 14th 1960 –The Administrative Procedure Code is not in accordance with art. 2 of the Constitution.
The Tribunal concluded that the principle of the state governed by the law does not justify ruling an administrative decision invalid if this decision was assumed to be in accordance with the law for several dozen years and it resulted in a right being acquired or created the expectation that rights will be acquired. The Tribunal emphasized that the principle in question serves the realization of the certainty of law principle and in that sense is only instrumental in relation to it.
The practical implication of the ruling is that the realization of the principle of a state governed by the law does not create an unconditional obligation to invalidate a faulty administrative decision creating right or an expectation of it if a significant time had passed since its coming into force. Restricting the principle in favour of stabilizing the socioeconomic situation created by such an administrative act and in favour of the principle of citizens’ trust for the state is justified.
Klaudia Kaniecka, The Tax Committee of Employers of Poland