The Basic Law had set grounds to judiciary by article (25) which approved that litigation is a sacrosanct right for all, then Article (67) on the establishment of a judicial body competent to adjudicate administrative disputes to monitor the legality of the actions of the management and to ensure the application of the principle "Law is above all.". The need for the administrative judiciary to be independent from the ordinary judiciary was taken into consideration. This is called the dual judicial system which ensures speed in the procedures of resolving administrative disputes, as well as ensuring the rights of individuals. The administrative court in the Sultanate is a new born, compared to other countries. It was established and organized by the Royal Decree No. 99/91 and was taken into force at 02/01/2000.
Administrative Judicial oversight existed before the issuance of this Decree, represented by several types, namely:
- administrative inspection: Management monitoring itself and its compliance with the law.
- Shura Council inspection: Inquiries and discussions and questions from members of the Council to the administrators.
- Public opinion inspection is the role of the press in highlighting the general problems and propose solutions for them.
- Independent government agencies inspection over the administrative units of the State.
- Complaints and grievance presented to His Majesty and the Diwan of Royal Court.
Despite the limited effectiveness of these types, they often provided the required guarantees but the administrative court is the real guarantee for the protection of freedoms and rights.
Council of Administrative Affairs
Council of Administrative Affairs is responsible for managing affairs of justice under the chairmanship of the Supreme Court President - Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, and it aims at consolidating judiciary independence policy through achievements, good performance and organization. The council focuses mainly on placing developing of Omani judiciary facility within the government future vision in order to achieve prompt justice.
Royal Decree No. (101/96) stated that resolve of administrative suits must be executed by a court specialized in issues related to this domain; therefore, Royal Decree No. (91/99) was issued to establish the Administrative Court and issue its law. Administrative Court consists of two circuits:
- Trial Chamber is a part of the First Instance Court. One or more trial chambers could be formed in a First Instance Court, which must be headed by a consultant, with the membership of first assistants consultants or assistants consultants, and one judge is also allowed to be a member. The headquarters of the Trial Chamber is located in Muscat. However, it is possible to establish trial chambers outside Muscat by a royal decree and on a recommendation from the Supreme Judicial Council which identifies the chamber’s headquarters and scope of competence.
- Appeals Chamber: It is under the chairmanship of the court president or his deputy. The membership of four consultants who have no less than two years seniority in this position. When necessary, the chamber may be headed by the older member.
Technical inspection body contains the court head and a number of members who are chosen by deputation from consultants, first assistant consultants and assistant consultants. The membership in the inspectorate is for one renewable year, parallel to their original jobs. Decision of deputizing is made by the competent minister (Minister of Diwan of Royal Court) after getting the approval of the Council of Administration.
This authority is competent to inspect and monitor the work of the first assistant consultants and their inferiors, as well as inspection and investigation of complaints made against members of the court relating to their duties, obligations or disciplinary matters. The inspections are conducted at least once a year, and the report is filed in a secret file as soon as the technical inspection estimates body sufficiency. The inspection must be done by a member with the longest experience in the job than the member whose work is being inspected.
contains at least a first assistant consultant, a number of assistant consultant, judges, and assistant judges, and the decision of deputizing them is made by the Head of the Court, and it contains a sufficient number of staff. Technical Office's job is to conduct the legal research that Head of the Court demands.
General Assembly of the Court of Administrative Justice
This assembly is concerned with determining the number of constituencies and distribution of the cases, as well as determining the number of meetings and their place and time, in addition to the preparation of the draft rules of the Court and approving them. The Court does not meet with the assembly without the request of the Head of the Court or three of its members. The meeting is considered valid in the case of presence of an absolute majority. And chaired by the President of the Court in case of his presence, or by the oldest member attending. Decisions are taken by absolute majority, and in the case of equality, the side which the head has chosen is the one to win.
Administrative litigation procedures
Administrative court had identified certain procedures for litigating before it to be applied to administrative disputes according to the provisions of the law of civil and commercial procedures, unless a special provision in the nature of the litigation is provided. The law requires the prosecutor to follow specific procedures before suing and others while suing reviewing cases. The procedures are divided into: