Legal remedies in Germany for disputes between authorities and an economic operator
In the case of disputes between authorities and an economic operator, there are, depending on the situation at the beginning, two different legal remedies: objection, if necessary with subsequent action, or appeal.
If an economic operator opposes a decision made by an administrative authority, this decision regularly represents an administrative act within the meaning of Section 35 of the Administrative Procedures Law (VwVfG). Against this act, the concerning operator may lodge an objection within one month – within one year if there was no instruction concerning time and manner of objecting the decision – after announcement of the administrative act (Section 70 (1) of the Administrative Courts Order, VwGO). The objection has to be lodged in writing, or for recording, with the authority that has adopted the administrative act.
If the objection is rejected, the concerning operator – again, within a month or a year – may bring an action for avoidance before the responsible administrative court (Section 42 of the Administrative Courts Order, VwGO).
If the authority's measure lies in the declaration of an administrative offence committed by the economic operator, and this declaration taking the form of an administrative order imposing a fine, the available legal remedy is the appeal.
Administrative offences are unlawful and reprehensible actions that fulfil the legal elements of a law allowing punishment by a fine.
Two weeks after service of the administrative order, the appeal has to be lodged in writing, or for recording, with the administrative authority that has issued the administrative order imposing a fine (Section 67 of the Administrative Offences Act, OWiG).
Following the appeal, the administrative authority can withdraw the administrative order imposing a fine. Otherwise it will forward the dossier through the public prosecutor's office to the responsible local court (Section 69 of the Administrative Offences Act, OWiG).