The Administrative Procedure Act (VwVfG) is also referred to as the “Basic Law of Administration”. It is the central code of procedure for the federal authorities in the area of general internal administration.
The Administrative Procedure Act regulates everything that the administration does and how it may do it. It contains general procedural principles that apply to all authorities.
The combination of procedural principles in a single law serves to standardise the law and to save standards. In this way, it is avoided that the same thing is repeatedly regulated in different technical laws and that unclarities may arise as a result of unintentional deviations.
In addition, a central code of procedure underlines the importance of a constitutional procedure by public authorities for citizens and companies.
The procedural principles form the core of the VwVfG. Administrative procedures are the activities of an authority which are necessary to issue an administrative act or to conclude a public law contract (§ 9 VwVfG).
The procedural principles are regulated in §§ 9 to 30 VwVfG. In principle each authority has a large discretion with the organization of the procedure. This procedural measurement is a prerequisite for an expedient and efficient execution of the special administrative laws (technical law, for example building law) by the authorities.
Quick and efficient procedure
In the interests of the parties involved, the procedure must be efficient, expeditious and generally informal (§§ 10, 71a ff. VwVfG). The financial and personnel resources employed should be used as sparingly and efficiently as possible. The parties involved in the procedure are to receive legal certainty and clarity quickly. Many administrative procedures are already being handled electronically.
Forms of action
The administration has numerous forms of action at its disposal.
The administrative act and the public law contract are regulated in the VwVfG.
The administrative act (VA) is as frequent as it is typical of public administration. With the administrative act, the authority makes a unilateral, concrete decision or regulation with an external effect. It applies to an individual case in the field of public law.
Also included are those regulations which, although they concern an abstract fact, are directed at a specific or determinable group of persons. The same applies to provisions which concern a concrete factual situation but an indeterminate group of persons (general ruling).
Typical administrative acts are, for example, building permits, trade bans, residents’ parking permits, vehicle registrations or zoning decisions. Administrative acts can be issued in writing, orally, electronically or by other means – for example, through signs.
Public law contract
The second form of action is the public law contract in §§ 54 ff. of the German Civil Code. VwVfG is regulated. The administrative act is indeed an optimal instrument for carrying out many administrative tasks lawfully and correctly. However, some tasks can be performed better cooperatively with the form of action of the public law contract.
Administrative procedure laws at federal and state level
The Federal Government and the Länder each have their own, but largely identical administrative procedure laws. They are further developed in a joint process by the Federal Government and the Länder. This prevents citizens and companies from having to deal with different rules when dealing with different federal and state authorities.
The VwVfG applies directly only to the federal authorities. Insofar as state laws are implemented, the states have their own legislative competence for administrative procedural law. The financial and social administration have their own rules of procedure, some of which contain similar provisions.
Administrative law is a branch of public law and regulates the legal relations between the state and the citizen – in contrast to civil law, which deals with the legal relations between the citizen and the citizen.
Administrative law is also used when, for example, the administrative bodies (municipal council and its members) get into conflict with each other.
The legislator has broken this down into general administrative law and special administrative law.
The three principles of administration, which must always be observed, are of central importance in administrative law:
Firstly, the administration must not act without the law.
Secondly, the administration must not act against the law.
Thirdly, the administration must respect the principle of proportionality, i.e. a measure must be necessary and a milder means of equal defence must not be available.
The action of an authority towards its citizens is usually characterised by a so-called administrative act, a decisive term in RSM Thailand administrative law and also legally defined by the legislator in the Administrative Procedure Act.
The special administrative law is broadly structured and cannot be divided completely into special sublegal areas. The most common and best-known are the law on averting danger (police law, building regulations, assembly law, etc.), municipal law (Saxon municipal regulations), urban planning law (BauGB), environmental law (waste law, immission control law) and university law, although the list is by no means exhaustive