An administrative appeal is a type of legal proceeding in which a person may ask a federal or state administrative agency to reconsider a decision that was issued during their initial administrative hearing. For instance, if a state administrative agency failed to issue you a license to practice a profession or engage in an activity that requires a permit (e.g., fishing, driving, hunting, etc.), then you may request an administrative hearing.

If your request is still denied after attending an administrative review hearing, then you may file a petition for an appeal. Briefly, an administrative review hearing is simply the first step to reversing an administrative agency’s adverse decision.

Can I Appeal an Administrative Decision?

It is possible for an individual to appeal an initial administrative decision. This can happen when a person is not satisfied with the results of an administrative hearing or the reasoning provided by an administrative law judge’s decision.

However, there is one exception to whether a person can appeal an administrative decision and that is if there is a statute that expressly forbids a particular legal issue from being appealed. An administrative court may also deny a petitioner’s request for an appeal if an administrative agency’s ruling is clear or it is a question that is best left up to a specific agency.

What Is Necessary to Appeal an Agency Decision to a Traditional Courtroom?

Before a person can appeal an agency decision in a traditional courtroom, they must have first completed the rules and requirements set out by a particular agency. Although this will often vary depending on each individual agency’s enacted rules and requirements, it generally necessitates that the person first be heard by a state agency and receive a decision from an administrative law judge.

If a petitioner is unsatisfied with the decision issued by an administrative law judge, they may file an appeal in accordance with the instructions that should have been provided along with the administrative law judge’s ruling. The administrative court will either grant or deny a request for an administrative appeal. If granted, the petitioner will be required to attend another administrative hearing.

If the administrative appeals process also does not resolve a petitioner’s issue, then they may file and seek a decision from a traditional state or federal court. Remember, only after a petitioner has exhausted all administrative remedies and has undergone the administrative appeals process will they be able to appeal an agency decision within a traditional courtroom.

How Do I Appeal an Administrative Decision?

Before an individual can appeal, they must have received an initial decision on the issue in question. Once the individual has received this initial decision, they will have a specified window of time to file an appeal. The time frame to file an appeal is usually somewhere between one and fifteen days. However, the period of time prescribed for an administrative appeal may vary in accordance with the laws of a particular jurisdiction.

If the individual successfully files an appeal before the specific period of time lapses, then the panel of administrative law judges or an administrative court may issue a temporary stay on the initial administrative decision. The panel will then decide whether or not they will grant the petitioner an appeal.

Although a person should always strive to file an appeal on time, the panel may extend the deadline if the petitioner can prove they have a good reason for filing their appeal paperwork past the mandatory deadline. Again, this will largely depend on the administrative issue in question, the laws enacted in a certain jurisdiction, and the discretion of an administrative law court.

If an administrative law court decides to grant a petitioner’s appeal, the individual will receive a Notice of Hearing that informs them of the date and time of their next administrative proceeding. On the other hand, if the administrative court denies a petitioner’s request for an appeal, then they will receive a notice that states that their request for an appeal has been denied.

What Happens on Appeal?

The events that occur during an individual’s appeal hearing will largely depend on the issues involved in their matter as well as the procedures and laws that are relevant to those issues. Generally speaking, however, some common examples of things that might occur during an administrative appeal process include the following:

  • A hearing that may require an individual to plead their case in under an hour;
  • A hearing held behind closed doors and out of view from the public;
  • A hearing that takes places in a nontraditional courtroom (e.g., a conference room);
  • A hearing in which only the petitioner, their attorney (if one is hired), a court clerk, and an administrative law judge are present (note that in some cases there may be more than a single administrative law judge);
  • An expert witness, such as a physician, if it is required to explain a petitioner’s issues; and/or
  • A question and answer session held between the administrative law judge and the petitioner.

What Kind of Relief Can I Get?

There are several forms of relief that a petitioner in an appeal may be able to recover if their appeal is successful. For instance, if the petitioner can prove that an administrative agency violated a law or acted in an unlawful manner in making their decision, then an administrative law judge may modify, vacate, reverse, or demand the agency to issue a new decision.

An administrative law judge may also decide to issue an order that requires an administrative agency to comply with a statute or regulation, hold further court proceedings on the administrative law issue at hand, and/or to issue the license, benefits, or so forth that the petitioner is requesting.

If I Lose, Can I Appeal Again?

Whether a petitioner will be permitted to file a second appeal will be left up to the discretion of the administrative law court. It is possible that an appeals court may reject an individual’s petition to hear an appeal that has already been reviewed and decided multiple times.

In other words, after a lower court has reviewed an administrative agency’s decision, any further judicial review will be at the discretion of the administrative law court.

Should I Contact a Lawyer About My Administrative Decision?

It is strongly recommended that you consult with a government lawyer in your area if you need any assistance with filing or appealing an administrative decision. A government lawyer who has experience in handling administrative decisions and appeals will be able to provide valuable legal advice on the laws and/or requirements that must be complied with during both an administrative hearing and the process for administrative appeals.

Your lawyer will be able to help you to navigate the complex steps involved with filing an appeal of an administrative decision. Your lawyer will also be able to assist you in conducting legal research on the issues involved in your administrative matter and can aid you in gathering solid evidence to support your administrative claim.

In addition, your lawyer will be able to accompany you to an administrative hearing or appeal and can provide legal representation before a panel of administrative law judges. Finally, your lawyer can also make sure that you are not deprived of your constitutional rights and can inform you as to whether there have been any changes made to current state or federal administrative laws that could potentially affect the outcome of your administrative case.