If at any instance you feel that you are treated unfairly by a decision or omission of the Municipality, you can request a modification of that decision or correction of its omission, i.e. you can request that the Municipality must do something you had asked them to do but failed to act and answer. There are several ways to remedy the problem which are explained further on.
The principle of legality defines that the activities of organs, authorities or persons, exercising any executive or administrative authority (Municipality of Aradippou is included in them) are determined and limited by the existing legal framework. This means that they are obliged to act within the frames of laws and not outside from them. Consequently the actions of Aradippou Municipality are based (or should be based) on the legislation of the European Union, on the Constitution, on the laws and on the secondary legislation. The Municipality applies mainly the following laws (and any secondary legislation of those laws):
- The Municipalities Law of 1985, L. 111/1985
- The Regulation of Roads and Buildings Law, Chapter 96
- The Public Roads Law, Chapter 83
- The Marriage Law of 2003, L. 104 (I) /2003
- The Sale of Alcoholic Drinks Law, Chapter 144
- The Dogs Law of 2002, L. 184 (I) /2002
A basic law that should be always observed and referred to by organs that practice public administration is the “Law on General principles of Administrative Law of 1999”, L. 158(I)/1999. It is the law that has codified the basic principles which should govern local administration organs and their actions in order to assure justice in what they do and absolute respect of the governed people.
Obligations of the Municipality and your rights
The “Law on General principles of Administrative Law of 1999”, L. 158(I)/1999 lists various obligations for the administrative organs. They will not be discussed here in their entirety but only the ones that would interest you in case you feel unfairly treated by an act or omission of the Municipality.
- In accordance with article 29 of the Constitution, you have the right to submit in writing applications or complaints to any public authority (Municipality of Aradippou is included in them) and you are eligible to require that they consider this application or complaint and deliver a timely decision. The decision of the Municipality should be in writing, be duly justified and be notified in a short time not more than 30 days from the reception of application or complaint. The “Law on General principles of Administrative Law of 1999” analyzes more the above provision. Among other it clarifies that the deadline of 30 days is valid in effect in the case where the decision-making in this time period is feasible. If, that is to say, in order for the Municipality to give you a decision they need to study a number of documents and calculations, as e.g. in the case where you make application in order to build a block of flats or it makes some research or takes elements from other services, then the answer will delay for as long as these procedures reasonably require. However the Municipality in such case is required to give you in the interval of 30 days information on the progress of your case. If after the expiry of three months from the day of submission of your application, the Municipality does not deliver an answer, then you are eligible to consider that they rejected your demand and you can litigate this omission at the Supreme Court on the basis of article 146 of the Constitution.
- Administrative actions issued by the Municipality of Aradippou that concern you should be sufficiently and duly justified, when they are unfavourable for you, e.g. they rejected your application for a building, that is to say they are supposed in this example to explain to you the reasons for which they rejected your application. The general and vague invocation of public interest does not constitute sufficient explanation of an administrative act. Unfounded administrative acts can be declared null and void and of no effect by the Supreme Court after a recourse to it on the basis of article 146 of the Constitution
- The Municipality, when notifying to you a decision which is unfavourable for you, is obliged to inform you in writing of the possible remedies and legal actions that you can take as a citizen, the set deadlines within which you can act, and which court or administrative body to which you can resort
- If you have committed an unlawful act and the Municipality intends to take measures of administrative coercion against you, e.g. removal of illegal advertising board, then they are must inform you of their intended action and give you the chance to abide by the law before the Municipality does so.
Submission of objection to the Municipality of Aradippou
Before deciding to take more drastic measures regarding Municipality decisions that have been communicated to you or for omission in your request(s) it is advisable to communicate with the Municipality and specifically with the Department that has the responsibility for your case. Speak with the personnel of Department in question and request explanations or submit a letter or electronic message. Sometimes the decision or omission could be due to an innocent error, carelessness, names mix-up etc. Your communication with the personnel that dealt or should have dealt with your case could resolve your problem in a simple and easy manner. It is not advisable that you resort straight to the Mayor or the Municipal Secretary. As you know both are very busy and in any case you should first speak with the responsible Department of the Municipality. Moreover these two very likely do not know details of your case.
Specifically for the case of municipal taxes or licence fees that have been communicated to you in order to pay, it should be clarified that these are classified in two categories, depending on the possibility of submission of objection.
(a) Taxes or licence fees for which you cannot submit objection
Taxes and licence fees for real estate, the sale of alcoholic drinks, manufactured tobacco and the possession of dogs are specified by the legislation either as absolute amount of owed sum or as percentage of some predetermined sum and they are not up to the authority of Municipal Council. Consequently, against these dues no objection can be filed.
(b) Taxes or licence fees for which you can submit objection
The following licence fees and taxes are determined by the Municipal Council upon exercise of its discreet authority and within the legislative frame:
Professional licences, licences of business premises, fees for garbage collection, and levies for cleanup of plots or open spaces. Consequently against these decisions you can file an objection. The objection should be filed not later than 30 days from the issue of invoices. All objections are examined by the Committee of Objections and decisions are reported to the applicants.
Recourse to the Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman)
If, after communication with the Municipality personnel, you continue to consider that you have been unfairly treated wronged, you he right to have recourse to the Commissioner for Administration for subjects of misconduct, breach of rules of proper administration and generally speaking influence of your rights. This right is guaranteed also for actions or omissions of Municipalities that are not subject to judicial control.
According to the web page of the Commissioner for Administration:
The complaint can be made in the following ways:
- By completing the special complaint form, which you can find on the website of the Office of the Commissioner for Administration.
- By completing the special form which you can get from the Office of the Commissioner for Administration.
- By submitting a simple letter.
Please send the complaint to the following postal address: Office of the Commissioner for Administration, 1097 Nicosia;
or send it to fax number 22672881;
or deliver it by hand at the Office of the Commissioner at the following address:
Office of the Commissioner for Administration
In the event of submission of complaint by letter, be sure that this includes the following data:
- Personal details: Full name, address, ID number and telephone numbers).
- Service against which the complaint is addressed.
- Short description of complaint with specific details as to the actions or omissions of the said service.
- Details showing that the citizen who files the complaint is affected directly and personally.
- Attach any relevant exchange of letters or documents in respect to the complaint with the involved service.
More info can be obtained from the office of the Commissioner for Administration at tel. 22405500 or at the website http://www.ombudsman.gov.cy
Recourse to the Supreme Court on the basis of Article 146 of the Constitution
If you dispute the legality of a decision of the Municipality that constitutes an executive administrative act or an omission, you have the right of a recourse to the Supreme Court, according to the provisions of article 146 of the Constitution, provided that an existing legitimate interest of yours has been adversely and directly affected by such decision or act or omission of the Municipality.
Such recourse must be made within seventy-five days of the date when the decision or act came to your knowledge.