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In the situation of a significant exceeding of the deadline to issue a decision, the significant increase of the number of cases in the administrative authority cannot justify it. It is a gross failure to act.
In two cases run by the Association for Legal Intervention, the Voivodship Administrative Court in Warsaw held that the Head of the Office for Foreigners grossly failed to act in the immigration legalization cases (ruling of 28 May 2020, case no. IV SAB/Wa 309/20 and ruling of 27 May 2020, case no. IV SAB/Wa 248/20).
The migrants applied for temporary residence permits. Their cases were handled by the Head of Office for Foreigners. According to the law, the Office for Foreigners should issue a decision within a month since receiving case files. In both cases the administrative authority issued a decision only after over a dozen of months.
The Voivodship Administrative Court in Warsaw (case no. IV SAB/Wa 309/20) held that the administrative authority grossly failed to act. They took into account amongst others the fact that:
the administrative authority after lodging a complaint to the court decided the case after a month. Additionally, the case was not complicated and the migrant acted with due diligence so that the case could be speedily decided (reminders, submitting additional documents without being requested by the administrative authority).
The Court held that in the situation of such a flagrant violation of the law, the significant increase of the number of cases in the administrative authority cannot justify it (case no. IV SAB/Wa 248/20). The Court awarded 1000 PLN and 1500 PLN, respectively, for the gross failure to act. While deciding on the amounts of money awarded, the Court took into consideration exceptionally long proceedings, no action on the part of the authority for the most part of the proceedings, no reaction on the reminders lodged and the staff and organizational difficulties of the office.
In both cases the migrants were represented before the court by the attorney-at-law Małgorzata Jaźwińska.
As we wrote in the report “SIP in action. Rights of migrants in Poland in 2019” the failure to act of the Office for Foreigners is a systemic problem. Only in 2019, approximately 1,300 requests for urgent consideration of the case were lodged and 671 complaints with the administrative court. Cases are regularly decided too long.
If you want to find out what you can do if you are waiting for the decision too long, you can read our short guide.