CITIES AND RURAL MUNICIPALITIES
Chapter 14 of the Constitution guarantees the autonomy of local government, i.e. the right of local authorities to resolve and manage local matters independently. Naturally, rural municipalities and cities must observe the Constitution and other laws in their activities. The duty to respect fundamental rights and liberties of individuals, to save the taxpayer’s money, and handle all matters fairly also extends to local authorities.
Local authorities are not a local extension of the arm of the Government of the Republic or ministries. The idea of local government is that local matters are resolved by the community itself in a manner most suitable for the particular city or rural municipality. What should be built and where, how to organise cleaning of roads and streets, waste transport, provision of public services and amenities, what to do in order to enjoy good living conditions in a rural municipality or city – those matters can best be arranged by local inhabitants themselves. The state should provide support in this process: matters should be arranged so that local authorities have money to promote local life. The state may also impose functions of the state on local authorities, but in that case sufficient funds should be provided from the state budget. Local and state budgets are separate.
The Chancellor receives a lot of questions concerning the work and problems of local authorities. As a rule, problems are resolved in the course of information exchange with a local authority, so that in the process a local authority revises its legislation in line with the Chancellor’s proposals, and there has been no need for recourse to the court. An exception is Narva City Council, which did not change their unconstitutional regulations on mandatory social services. Therefore, in order to have the unconstitutional provisions of those regulations repealed, the Chancellor had to apply to the Supreme Court.
During the reporting year, the Chancellor made numerous proposals to bring local authority regulations into line with the laws and the Constitution.
Regulations on keeping dogs and cats
Viimsi rural municipality’s regulation on keeping pets imposed obligations and responsibility on persons feeding a stray pet. The Chancellor made a proposal to the rural municipal council to bring the regulation into line with the laws (the Animal Protection Act, the Infectious Animal Disease Control Act, the Local Government Organisation Act), the Government of the Republic regulation („The procedure for catching and keeping stray animals and identifying their owner, and killing of stray animals“), and the Constitution. Imposing the obligations and liability of an animal keeper on a person feeding a stray animal unlawfully restricts their fundamental right to property (§ 32(1)−(3) Constitution) and the general fundamental right to liberty (§ 19(1) Constitution). The rural municipal council annulled the unlawful provision.
Kadrina rural municipality regulation on keeping cats and dogs provided that its violation constitutes a misdemeanour which the law no longer stipulates. Misdemeanour offences should be established by a law and not a rural municipal council regulation. Also, the municipal council should only refer in its regulation to the statutory elements of a misdemeanour offence and not rewrite them in its regulation. The Chancellor made a proposal to the rural municipal council to bring the regulation into line with the Local Government Organisation Act, the Penal Code and the Rules for good law-making and legislative drafting. The municipal council complied with the Chancellor’s proposal.
Property maintenance rules
Lääne-Harju rural municipality rules on property maintenance prohibited, inter alia, the following activities within the rural municipality boundaries:
- damaging road surface, lawn surface, flowers, bushes, hedges or trees, and any unauthorised cutting;
- placing any items and food inappropriate for that place on the outside of a window;
- drying laundry above the barrier of a balcony or loggia.
These bans are not lawful since they fail to take into account different forms of ownership or particularities of local conditions (high- or low-density population area). Establishing property maintenance rules is actually the task of a city or rural municipality precisely because of the need to take into account local conditions, including the population density of each area. After the administrative reform, many rural municipalities include urban areas and many city boundaries include low-density areas where a rural way of life is predominant. Different restrictions should apply in secluded rural areas and high-density areas. Establishing local rules should take into account that they should not enable someone to be punished several times for the same act.
The Chancellor made a proposal to Lääne-Harju Rural Municipal Council to bring the property maintenance rules into line with the Penal Code and the Constitution. The municipal council introduced the necessary changes to the rules.
Local statutes for electing a village elder
Under the borough and village elder and local community body statute of Haljala rural municipality, the rural municipal government issues a list of residents to a borough or village elder for registration of participants in a general meeting. However, the rural municipal government cannot do this since the activities of a general meeting of a borough or village, or election of a borough or village elder, are currently not regulated as the exercise of a public function. This would then constitute unlawful processing of personal data. However, a municipal council may regulate organisation of the election of a borough or village elder and the procedure for supervision over its regulations as the exercise of a public function.
The Chancellor proposed that Haljala Rural Municipal Council should bring the statutes into line with the Population Register Act and the Constitution (§ 26 – inviolability of private life). The municipal council took the Chancellor’s proposal into account and established new statute.
Waste management regulations
A resident of Türi rural municipality drew the Chancellor’s attention to provisions in the municipality’s waste regulations regulating the frequency of organised waste transport in the municipality. The regulations stipulated that transport of waste may occur less frequently (once a quarter) than normal if up to two people are living at the place of generation of waste, not much waste is generated and keeping it in a container does not pollute the surrounding area.
The Chancellor found that the Waste Act does not enable the frequency of waste transport to be linked with the number of people living at the property. On that basis, the respective condition in the regulations is arbitrary and precludes the local authority from exercising discretion.
The Chancellor made a proposal to Türi Rural Municipal Council to bring the municipality’s waste regulations into line with the Waste Act and the Constitution (§ 3(1) and § 154(1) – legality). The municipal council established new waste management regulations complying with the Chancellor’s proposal.
Entry into force of the Building Code and the Planning Act on 1 July 2015 deprived local authorities of the right to establish land use and building conditions under their regulations. Thus, at the latest by 1 July 2017, local authorities had to revise their building regulations and bring them into line with the law (Implementing Act of the Buiding Code and of the Planning Act). Tallinn City Council and the Council of Haapsalu Town had failed to amend some building regulations by the deadline. The Chancellor made a proposal to Tallinn City Council to annul the building regulations of Astangu, Pelgulinn and Nõmme city districts, and sent a memorandum asking the Council of Haapsalu Town to bring the city’s building regulations into line with the law. In both cases, the Chancellor’s proposal was complied with and the relevant regulations have been annulled.
Procedure for trading
The “Procedure for trading at fairs, public events and in the streets” established by a regulation of the Council of Loksa Town changed the substance of a concept defined by law. This is not lawful since a regulation cannot expand or narrow the scope of concepts defined by law.
The Chancellor made a proposal to the Council of Loksa Town (29 November 2018; 22 April 2019) to bring the regulation into line with the Trading Act, the General Part of the Economic Activities Code Act, and the Constitution (§ 13(2) – legal clarity; § 3(1) and § 154 (1) – legality). The town council annulled the relevant regulation.
Financial management procedure
The financial management procedure of Lüganuse rural municipality did not indicate whether, in a situation where a supplementary budget is adopted in two or more readings, its processing in the municipal council is the same as for the draft budget.
The Chancellor made a proposal to Lüganuse Rural Municipal Council to revise the municipality’s financial management procedures as regards proceedings for a supplementary budget. The municipal council complied with the proposal.
Price for water services
Loksa town regulation on the procedure for connecting to, and using, the public water supply and sewerage system, and charging a connection fee regulates the price of water services, stipulating that those connected to the public water supply and sewerage system pay a basic fee to the water undertaking in an amount approved by the government of town on a proposal by the water undertaking. These provisions contravene the law as laws do not entitle municipal councils to regulate price formation of water services by a legislative act of general application. The Chancellor made a proposal to the Council of town to bring the regulation into line with the Constitution. The Council of Loksa Town complied with the Chancellor’s proposal and changed the regulation.
„Põhja-Sakala rural municipality procurement procedure“, established by a rural municipal government regulation, contains a provision under which an invitation to tender may be made to one person when purchasing goods and commissioning services with an estimated value under 10 000 euros, and when commissioning building works with an estimated value under 20 000 euros. Thus, the rural municipality enables purchase of goods and commissioning of services and building works within a specific and relatively high amount from one tenderer only.
Such a provision in procurement procedure is incompatible with the general principles for public procurement and unlawfully restricts freedom of competition and, consequently, also freedom of enterprise (§ 31 Constitution). However, the general principles for public procurement (§ 3 Public Procurement Act) stipulate, inter alia, that the contracting authority or entity must act transparently, verifiably and proportionately when carrying out public procurement, and must ensure effective use of competition. These principles have been laid down in order to prevent so-called targeted tenders to give preference to a specific producer, product or tenderer, and open up public procurement to competition. Effective use of competition presumes that an opportunity to participate in a tender is given to everyone who is able to offer solutions suitable for a local authority.
The Chancellor sent a memorandum to Põhja-Sakala Rural Municipal Government to bring the procurement procedure into line with the law.
Rural municipalities and cities must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms and the principles of good administrative practice in their activities. The Chancellor is tasked with supervising this. The proceedings end with the Chancellor’s opinion assessing whether the activities of the supervised institution were lawful and compatible with the requirements of good administrative practice.
Under the Constitution (§ 154(1)), local authorities manage all local matters independently, on the basis of laws. Local matters arise from a local community. On the basis of laws or by agreement with a local authority, the state may also impose state-level obligations on rural municipalities or cities (§ 154(2) Constitution).
Parents often contact the Chancellor complaining that they are dissatisfied with the activities of a child protection worker for their city or rural municipality. Mostly, the complaints concern the work of child protection bodies in a dispute between parents on the right to custody or access. In judicial proceedings concerning a minor, the court must ask the opinion of a rural municipal or city government. Parents have different expectations as to the steps a child protection worker should take before submitting an opinion to the court. The practice of child protection workers also varies. (See in more detail the Chapter “Children and young people”).
Access to education
State and local authorities must ensure access to education in Estonian (§ 37(2) and (4) Constitution) to everyone regardless of the pupils’ mother tongue.
The state and the Government of Kohtla-Järve Town have agreed that, in future, upper secondary education in Estonian in Kohtla-Järve town will be provided by the state. A solution that enables young people with different mother tongues to attend the same school promotes mutual understanding in society and also, by this means, respect for constitutional values. At the same time, it requires stronger efforts from state and local authorities in order to ensure the sustainability of Estonian in places where Estonian mother tongue speakers are in the minority (see the Chancellor’s opinion „Reorganisation of the school network in Kohtla-Järve“).
Under the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, a local authority must, as a rule, enable children to receive basic education at a school based on a child’s residence and managed by the local authority itself. A rural municipality or city organises transport of pupils to school and back. In so doing, the local authority is not required to compensate costs that a family incurs when driving a child to school and back in their private vehicle. Where a local authority has enabled a child to receive basic education at a school within the same municipality, it is not required to organise transport of pupils to school in a neighbouring local authority and back. A local authority is required by law to organise school transport if, by agreement with another rural municipality or city, it has assigned a school located there to be a child’s school based on residence. At the same time, even in that case a local authority need not compensate the costs of using a private vehicle. The local authority of a pupil’s residence is obliged to compensate a pupil’s transport costs only where the local authority cannot organise a pupil’s studies in accordance with a recommendation of the external advisory team and where the local authority itself has not organised transport or where transport costs have not been compensated from the state budget under the procedure established on the basis of the provisions of the Public Transport Act (see „Compensation of pupil’s transport costs“).
Access to kindergarten service
It is lawful for a local authority to give a kindergarten place as a priority to a child whose sister or brother already attends the same kindergarten. Under the Preschool Childcare Institutions Act, a rural municipality or city must ensure a place in a preschool childcare institution within a reasonable time to all applicants meeting the conditions laid down by law. Thus, a child having no siblings in a kindergarten must also receive a place in a kindergarten. However, the law does not entitle anyone to a place in a specific childcare institution (see „The principles of giving a place in a kindergarten“).
A municipal council by its regulation may (see „Establishment of participation fee in Lääne-Harju rural municipality preschool childcare institutions“) establish the maximum limit of a participation fee paid by parents in kindergartens of the municipality (formed in the course of administrative reform), while also laying down distinctions and their abolition after a transition period. The Chancellor was contacted by residents of Lääne-Harju rural municipality who were dissatisfied with distinctions in the kindergarten fee laid down by the municipality. The law enables rural municipal or city councils to establish the rate of a parents’ participation fee which may be differentiated depending on each child’s age, the management costs of the childcare institution, or other circumstances. Thus, the law also allows differentiation to be based on circumstances not clearly defined by law. Prior to merger, the rural municipalities had applied a different fee rate for a kindergarten place so that the newly established rural municipality wanted to establish a fair procedure for transition to a uniform fee.
The Chancellor found that the need for a smooth increase in the fee for the municipality’s kindergartens may be deemed a reasonable and relevant justification for different treatment, which is compatible with the law.
Single pensioner allowance
During this reporting year, the Chancellor also had to resolve the concerns of pensioners deprived of allowance because of incomplete or incorrect address data. Under the Spatial Data Act, location addresses must be established for parts of buildings (apartments) if the parts of buildings are dwellings or if it is necessary to distinguish them on the basis of an address for other reasons
For example, Tallinn has refused to assign an address to a separate dwelling if the number of apartments/dwellings prescribed by a detailed plan does not coincide with the actual number of dwellings. Tallinn has also left an address unspecified for the reason that otherwise the person would lose the land tax exemption. At the Chancellor’s request, Tallinn city has nevertheless changed its previous practice.
Access to public buildings
Local authorities have the duty to ensure that people with disabilities can independently and fully participate in all walks of life. Thus, access to buildings, public transport, information and communication should be ensured to them on an equal basis with others. This is also important in connection with elections (see „Access to public buildings“).
The Chancellor sent a memorandum to local authorities in connection with problems of organising public transport. She drew attention to possibilities for rural municipalities and cities to organise school transport (measures to ensure safety of passengers, access of people with disabilities to public transport vehicles). In order to obtain a precise overview of local situations, the Chancellor asked local authorities to send her relevant information. By the time of drawing up the report, the Chancellor had received replies from 59 local authorities. (See in more detail the Chapter “Children and young people”).
A local authority must take into consideration a detailed spatial plan established by itself when issuing building permits or permits for use as well as authorisations for public events, or when carrying out supervision over compliance with a detailed spatial plan under the Building Code. In a situation where the noise level in the vicinity of a motor racing circuit exceeds the established thresholds but a detailed spatial plan lays down requirements for reducing noise, residents in the vicinity of the racing circuit are entitled to presume that the local authority will ensure compliance with the requirements set out in the plan.
Assessing whether measures taken to reduce noise are sufficient requires measuring the noise. Based on the results of measurements, a decision can be made as to whether additional measures for noise reduction are needed apart from compliance with the requirements set out in the detailed plan. Requirements prescribed in a detailed plan must be observed regardless of the level of noise (see „Noise at Audru motor racing circuit“).
Release from obligation to join organised waste transport scheme
Decisions by a rural municipal or city government on release from the obligation to join an organised waste transport scheme must be made on a case-by-case basis. First of all, responsibility for transport of waste lies with the person whose activity generated waste and who is in possession of waste. However, a waste holder may also organise waste transport through an apartment association. Rules based on which a rural municipal or city government can decide on release from the obligation of waste transport are set out in the Waste Act (see „Release from the obligation of waste transport“).
Establishing compulsory possession
Under § 39(1) of the Acquisition of Immovables in the Public Interest Act, establishing compulsory possession is decided by a person who has the power to grant a building permit or decide the designation of a private road for public use under the Building Code. Although that provision does not exhaustively define the power to establish compulsory possession, this alone cannot be the reason to deem the provision unconstitutional. In this case, a constitutionally-compliant interpretation would enable compulsory possession of an immovable instead of its acquisition in the public interest. Although no building permit is needed for an overhead power line below 35 kV, nevertheless the competence of compulsory possession lies with a rural municipality or city (see „Competence to establish compulsory possession“).
Public access to a road can be ensured primarily in two ways. First, reaching an agreement with the owner of an immovable on establishing a servitude (or other limited right) on the immovable should be tried. If no agreement can be reached with the owner of an immovable, compulsory possession on it may be established under the Acquisition of Immovables in the Public Interest Act (see „Activities of a rural municipality in establishing compulsory possession“).
Maintenance of a private road
The Chancellor was asked to clarify the rules on snow control on private roads. Under the Building Code, a local authority is required to clean a private road of snow only if the road is designated for public use. However, a local authority may decide to be more generous. Winter maintenance on a road not designated for public use cannot be arranged by a local authority against the owner’s will or without another legal basis laid down by law. By doing so, the local authority would violate the fundamental right to property (§ 32 Constitution; see „Winter maintenance of a private road not designated for public use“).
The Chancellor’s Office analysed information provided by cities and rural municipalities on their websites about social services which local authorities are required by law to organise for their residents. Information must be sufficient, accessible and understandable, and diverse modes of providing information should be used. An individual who is not aware of their rights cannot exercise them (memorandums to Tartu City Government, Maardu Town Government, Tartu Rural Municipality Government).
Public access to municipal council sessions
Public access to municipal council sessions means that everyone may, on the spot, observe voting on agenda items of interest to them. A decision by a municipal council chair to remove from a council session people observing a debate on a public agenda item is not compatible with the principle of public access to local government activities and municipal council sessions. That decision also fails to respect the requirements for exercise of the margin of appreciation and contravenes the Constitution (§ 34 – freedom of movement, including the right of stay; § 44(1) – right to free access to information disseminated for public use).
The Chancellor drew the attention of the chair of Saarde Rural Municipality Council and municipal councillors to the need to duly respect the rights of visitors at a municipal council session.
A municipal council is the representative body of a local authority (§ 156(1) Constitution) that is elected in democratic elections and whose competence includes deciding on the most important local matters.
Incompatibility of offices and positions of a municipal council member
The grounds for premature termination of a municipal council member’s mandate are laid down by the Local Government Organisation Act. Under the Act, the authority of a municipal council member also terminates prematurely “in connection with employment in an administrative agency of the same rural municipality or city” (§ 18(1) clause 6).
According to the Chancellor’s assessment, such premature termination of a municipal council member’s mandate is contrary to the Constitution (§ 10, § 11 second sentence, § 29(1), § 156(1)), the European Charter of Local Self-Government (Art 3 para. 2, first sentence) and the Additional Protocol (Art 1 para. 5.1) to the Charter, on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority. It also contravenes the Municipal Council Election Act (§ 5(5)). The provision excessively restricts passive suffrage, a municipal council member’s free mandate, freedom to choose one’s area of activity and place of work, and is incompatible with the principle of democracy and uniformity of election. The risks of incompatibility of a municipal council member’s mandate and assuming work on the basis of an employment contract in a rural municipality or city administrative agency can be mitigated in the event of a conflict of interest by having a municipal council member withdraw from debate and decision-making.
The Chancellor contacted the Riigikogu with a request that the parliament should bring that provision into line with the laws, the European Charter of Local Self-Government and its Additional Protocol, and the Constitution.
Preparation for a municipal council session
A municipal council as a constitutional institution (§ 156 Constitution) enjoys the right of self-organisation. Inter alia, this provides the opportunity to decide what materials need to be prepared for debate and to decide on each issue in different stages of the proceedings. No written materials are necessarily required to debate agenda items for information only. Municipal council members must be able to examine session materials prior to the session and prepare for debate on agenda issues. Organisation of municipal council work complies with the principles of good administrative practice (§ 14 Constitution) if it enables all council members in each stage of proceedings to form their opinion on the basis of timely, objective and sufficient information. If under an ‘information item’ on a council session agenda municipal council members are given written materials only after the session, they are entitled to know why they did not receive the material before the session.
Municipal council’s exclusive competence
The Chancellor was asked whether a municipal council may lay down delegating norms for issues within the council’s exclusive competence (e.g. granting benefits). The Chancellor found that the council is entitled to do so (see § 22(1) of the Local Government Organisation Act) but the most important aspects of an issue within the council’s exclusive competence must be regulated by the municipal council itself and deciding on them may not be delegated to someone else (e.g. the municipal government). Otherwise, exclusive competence may become void of substance. What exactly are the most important aspects of an issue should be decided on a case-by-case basis taking into account the significance of the problem.
Under the Local Government Organisation Act, a municipal council enjoys exclusive competence only with regard to establishing a detailed spatial plan amending a comprehensive plan, but not initiating that spatial plan. The Planning Act stipulates that preparation of a detailed spatial plan amending a comprehensive plan must observe the procedural requirements for a comprehensive plan, but that wording does not include initiating the spatial plan. Thus, if a need arises to amend the comprehensive plan in the course of proceedings of a detailed spatial plan initiated by a rural municipal or city government, the ongoing proceedings need not be terminated and reinitiated by the municipal council.
However, the council could reveal its position on a detailed spatial plan as early as possible, because it would be unreasonable for the city or rural municipal government to process a detailed spatial plan amending the comprehensive plan which the municipal council would not support anyway (see „CCompetence to initiate a detailed spatial plan amending a comprehensive plan“).
Protection of municipal council members’ rights
Legal disputes within a municipal council fall within the competence of an administrative court, but municipal council members may not have recourse to the court for protection of rights arising from their status. For Riigikogu members, that right arises from the Constitutional Review Court Procedure Act (§§ 16 and 17).
In order to improve protection of municipal council members’ rights and the functioning of representative democracy, the Chancellor contacted the Riigikogu Constitutional Committee with a proposal to entitle municipal council members, in cases specified by law, to have direct recourse to an administrative court for protection of their rights arising from their status.
Election of municipal council deputy chairs
Election of municipal council deputy chairs is regulated by the Local Government Organisation Act and the rural municipality or city statutes. The law does not require or prohibit election of municipal council deputy chairs at the same session (on election of deputy chairs on the agenda of a new municipal council’s first session, see § 44(3) of the Local Government Organisation Act). The requirements for preparing a municipal council session agenda laid down in rural municipality or city statutes should also be taken into account.
Public access to municipal council activities
According to the Chancellor’s assessment, it is lawful to include a provision in a rural municipality or city statutes under which meetings of municipal council committees are held in camera, except where a committee chair decides otherwise. Public access is one of the underlying principles of local government. Municipal councils lay down the organisation of work and procedural rules for their committees. Under the law, meetings of municipal council committees need not be public (on public access to municipal council sessions, see § 44(4) of the Local Government Organisation Act). Certainly, a municipal council may also decide to make the meetings of their committees (more) public.
Activities of an audit committee
Written enquiries by a municipal council audit committee made internally within a local authority do not constitute requests for information within the meaning of the Public Information Act.
The Local Government Organisation Act (§ 48(5) does not oblige a municipal council to adopt a draft legal act submitted by its audit committee. Legal acts are established by the municipal council and not its committee.
Control of activities of a foundation under the dominant influence of a rural municipality or city cannot proceed only from the Foundations Act, but the competence of the municipal council’s audit committee should also be taken into account. In its work the audit committee proceeds from the Local Government Organisation Act, rural municipality or city statutes, the committee’s work plan, as well as tasks assigned by the municipal council. Under the law, the audit committee must present its activity report at a municipal council session at least once a year. The committee must definitely also provide a written overview of the annual report and submit it to the municipal council. The committee is entitled to verify the legality, expedience and effectiveness of activities of a company, foundation and non-profit association under the dominant influence of the rural municipality or city, and purposeful use of rural municipality or city assets. An audit committee is entitled to obtain information and all documents needed for its work. Specifically what documents an audit committee will check depends on the substance of the particular audit.
Conflict of interest
During the reporting year, the Chancellor received several questions concerning conflict of interest in local authorities. Mostly, the questions concerned procedural restrictions and restrictions on activities.
The Chancellor explained that the director of a municipal school who is a municipal council member may vote in adoption of a rural municipality or city budget or supplementary budget (containing the part on funding schools). Under the Local Government Organisation Act (§ 17(5), a municipal council member may not participate in debate and resolution of legislation of specific application in the municipal council with regard to which a procedural restriction extends to the member as stipulated by the Anti-corruption Act. Procedural restrictions do not apply to adoption of legislation of general application and to participation in its adoption or preparation. Within the meaning of the Anti-corruption Act, a local authority budget is deemed legislation of general application (§ 11(3) clause 1).
A municipal council may ‘decouple’ the remuneration of its members from remuneration of a rural municipality or city mayor, i.e. establish a specific amount as remuneration for municipal council members, and not a specified percentage of the mayor’s remuneration.
Laws do not prohibit municipal council members from entering into a contract of mandate with the rural municipal or city government. However, the requirements of the Anti-corruption Act and the Local Government Organisation Act (procedural restrictions, withdrawal) should be taken into account. A municipal council member’s authority terminates prematurely, inter alia, in connection with work on the basis of an employment contract in a rural municipality or city administrative agency. Whether a contract that was formally concluded as a contract of mandate is in substance an employment contract, and a municipal council member’s authority terminates prematurely on that basis, is assessed by the rural municipality or city electoral committee.
In the event of a procedural restriction (e.g. making a service-related decision in respect of a subordinate who is a person’s close relative – see § 11 subs. (1) and subs. (3) clause 5 of the Anti-corruption Act), a public official (e.g. the director of a municipal kindergarten) may not task their subordinate with performing an act or making a decision instead of the official themselves. An official must immediately inform their immediate superior ‒ or the person or body with the right to appoint the official ‒ of the occurrence of a case of procedural restriction. The immediate superior or the above person or body will perform the act or make the decision themselves or assign this task to another official.