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Grace, hierarchical, mandatory (Rapo)

Verified 10 février 2021 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

If the administration takes a decision that is unfavourable to you, you can ask them to review their decision by filing an administrative appeal. You can appeal to the decision-maker for free. You can also make a hierarchical appeal to your superior. Sometimes, administrative recourse is mandatory before going to court. This is a compulsory prior administrative appeal (Rapo).

The contested administrative decision may be written (explicit) or result from the administrative silence on your (implied) request.

Grace and hierarchical remedies are both pre-judicial remedies. But they differ.

Pleasure

The appeal is addressed to the author of the contested decision (mayor, prefect, academy inspector, etc.).

Hierarchical remedy

The hierarchical appeal shall be addressed to the hierarchical superior of the author of the decision. For example, the Minister of the Interior for a decision made by a prefect.

It is possible to lodge a hierarchical appeal without first having made a plea or without waiting for the reply to the plea.

Prior appeal may be free or compulsory.

When it is free, you can choose to exercise it or refer it directly to the administrative judge.

When prior recourse is mandatory, you cannot go before the judge without having exercised it.

The compulsory prior administrative appeal (Rapo) is addressed to an administration and constitutes a compulsory prerequisite for referral to the administrative judge.

The Rapo applies in particular to the following areas:

  • Tax disputes (for example, tax base)
  • Access to administrative documents
  • Access to regulated professions (College of Physicians, ...)
  • Military civil service: appeal to the Military Appeals Board
  • Litigation of foreigners (e.g., refusal of visas)
  • Social litigation (appeal against a decision of the MDPH or the MDMPH)

The applicable rules are different for Rapo. Differences may include: time limits for referral, collegial appeal, adversarial procedure. Read carefully the decision of the administration you are challenging. It shall indicate the means and time limits by which the appeal may be exercised.

  Please note : where a prior administrative appeal is mandatory, it is stated in the decision.

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Grace or hierarchical remedies

The appeal may be sent on free paper, preferably by registered with AR, to keep proof of the shipment.

The appeal is free.

You must state the reasons for your appeal (explain the legal reasons and the facts leading you to contest the decision).

A copy of the disputed decision is attached to your letter, along with any documents you consider necessary to have the decision reviewed.

Keep a copy of the letter, attachments, and supporting documents for sending and receiving them by the administration. These documents will be useful in the event of further legal action.

Grace and hierarchical appeal must be brought within the time limit set for bringing a contentious appeal (2 months after the notification of the contested decision).

The appeal must be sent to the author of the contested decision, while the appeal must be sent to his hierarchical superior.

Compulsory prior administrative appeal (RAPO)

The RAPO can be sent on free paper, preferably recommended with AR, to keep proof of the shipment. The addressee of this appeal shall be indicated on the decision.

The appeal is free.

You must state the reasons for your appeal (explain the legal reasons and the facts leading you to contest the decision).

A copy of the disputed decision is attached to your letter, along with any documents you consider necessary to have the decision reviewed.

Keep a copy of the letter, attachments, and supporting documents for sending and receiving them by the administration. These documents will be useful in the event of further legal action.

The time limit for making a compulsory prior administrative appeal (Rapo) is indicated in the decision you are challenging.

The authority competent to receive the RAPO shall be indicated on the contested decision.

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Grace or hierarchical remedy

Making an ex gratia or hierarchical appeal gives you additional time to file a contentious appeal before the administrative court.

However, you must have filed these appeals before the expiry of the time limit for the contested appeal, i.e. within 2 months of notification of the contested decision. Indeed, you have 2 months to appeal to the administrative court (deadline). This period is interrupted by the administrative appeal and a new period of 2 months starts to run if your appeal is rejected by the administration.

Example : administration notify a refusal on 4 April 2018. You file an administrative appeal on 26 May 2018. Your administrative appeal is dismissed on 24 June 2018. You can refer the matter to the administrative judge until midnight on 25 August 2018. If the deadline expires on a Saturday, Sunday, holiday or day unemployed, the period shall be extended until 1to day working next.

The silence of the administration concerned over your administrative appeal for more than 2 months means that it refuses your appeal.

Compulsory prior administrative appeal (Rapo)

If you are not satisfied with the decision on the compulsory administrative appeal (Rapo), you can appeal to the administrative judge. The contested appeal is against the decision taken on the Rapo and not against the original decision.

If your Rapo is rejected, the relevant authority must motivate his decision.

The rules applicable (time limits for referral, collegial instance of appeal, adversarial procedure) are different according to the Rapo. Read carefully The decision of the administration you are challenging: it shall indicate the means and time limits by which the remedy may be exercised.