When an administrative hearing is over, an administrative law judge (ALJ) who presided over a case will prepare a written decision. If a party disagrees with a final administrative decision, that party can file a petition for rehearing the case. The agency can review the decision and make a determination to accept, reject or modify the decision. The agency can then issue its final administrative decision.
The procedure for rehearing an administrative case is provided in Model State Administrative Procedure Act (MSAPA) 1981. MSAPA provides that generally, a hearing officer who rendered the prior judgment should reconsider or rehear the case. The hearing officer should issue a written order denying the petition for rehearing, granting the petition for rehearing, or modifying the previous judgment. The hearing officer can also provide a written order granting the petition for rehearing and forwarding the case for further proceedings.
The petition can be granted wholly or partially. However, the hearing officer is bound to record the judicial basis of subsequent decision. The hearing official should provide findings of fact, legal conclusions, and policy reasoning of reaching the decision in a written form. The decision can be modified only on a reasonable basis and not in an arbitrary manner.
If the hearing officer does not provide a written order within 20 days from the filing of the petition for rehearing, the petition can be considered as denied. Therefore, an order pronounced after the prescribed time limit can be considered as null and void.[i]
[i] Jackson v. Hendrick, 560 Pa. 468 (Pa. 2000)