Archiving of the electronic official bulletin board

Czech Republic: Administrative authorities must be able to provide ex post evidence of their proper compliance with public notification and disclosure duties

All administrative authorities are required by law to put up an official bulletin board which must at all times be accessible to the general public and on which important information and documents are published concerning the activities of the given administrative body. The contents of the bulletin board are also published in a way which allows for remote access, i.e., as a rule, on the internet on what is known as an electronic bulletin board.

In administrative procedures with a larger number of participants, the bulletin board may be used to serve documents (including administrative decisions) to these participants (in the form of a public announcement). Documents thus put on the bulletin board are considered delivered on the fifteenth day of their publication, whereupon the time limits which depend on service of process (such as e.g. the time period for appeals) are triggered. In other words, the publication of information or documents on the official bulletin board is of fundamental importance for the participants of such administrative procedures, and it is in the interest of every one of them to regularly check the contents of official bulletin boards with respect to procedures which may directly affect them (i.e., in particular, the bulletin boards of building offices near one’s home). The whole arrangement has given rise to problems, however, in that sometimes a dispute would break out over whether or not the publication duty was properly fulfilled in the case of electronic bulletin boards: as a rule, the officials would „take down“ (i.e., delete) the published documents upon the lapse of the statutory period, and not bother with keeping records of their own.

In its decision 2 As 47/2016, however, the Supreme Administrative Court has now ruled that, in publishing information or documents on the electronic bulletin board, administrative bodies are obliged to account for such publications in a suitable form such as to be always able to prove after the fact that certain information or documents were published on the electronic bulletin board as required by law. In other words, if participants to administrative procedures have doubts over whether documents were properly published on the electronic bulletin board, they may demand that the administrative authority provides proof. The above-cited court decision thus significantly boosts the rights of participants to administrative procedures in which service-of-process requirements are satisfied by a public announcement on the bulletin board.

Source: Judgment 2 As 47/2016 – 44 of 8 June 2015 by the Supreme Administrative Court


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