Administrative Procedure Act – Florida

The Florida Administrative Procedure Act (“Act”) is found in Title 10, Part X, Chapter 120 of the Florida Statutes.  The Act is not applicable to the legislature and the courts.

According to Fla. Stat. § 120.525, an agency must give notice of all public meetings, hearings and workshops by publishing it in the Florida Administrative Weekly and on the agency’s website at least seven days before the event.  But this rule is not applicable in case of emergency meetings.  An agency can all for an emergency meeting if it finds that there is imminent danger to public health, safety and welfare.  In such a situation, the agency can give notice by any reasonable procedure which is necessary to protect public interest.  This procedure must be protected by any other statute, the state constitution or the U.S. constitution.  Under the emergency procedure, the agency is permitted to take only that action which is necessary to protect public interest.

According to Fla. Stat. § 120.53, an agency must maintain all its final orders and a hierarchical subject-matter index. The agency must also make available to the public electronic data base of all its orders in such a way that users can research and retrieve the full text of the orders whenever necessary.

Fla. Stat. § 120.536 provides that an agency has authority only to adopt rules related to the powers and duties granted by the concerned statute.  An agency cannot adopt a rule only because of the reason that it is reasonably related to the purpose of the concerned legislation and because is not arbitrary.  An agency does not have authority to execute statutory provisions related to general legislative intent or policy.  Also according to Fla. Stat. § 120.54, an agency cannot use discretion in rule making.  It has to adopt the rule making procedures as soon as practicable.

Fla. Stat. § 120.542 provide for variances and waivers.  In some situations, strict application of the rule making procedures will lead to unfair results.  It is appropriate in such cases for the agencies to adopt a procedure in order to provide relief to persons subject to the regulation.  According to this section, variances and waivers will be granted to a person if s/he shows that the purpose of the underlying statute can be achieved by other means and that the actual procedure will create great hardship to him/her and violate principles of fairness.

Fla. Stat. § 120.545 deals with the creation of a committee to review the agency rules.  The committee will examine each proposed rule, its accompanying material, and each emergency rule.  It will also examine existing rules to check if there was an invalid delegation of statutory authority.

According to Fla. Stat. § 120.55, the Department of State must and publish on its website the Florida Administrative Code (“Code).  The Code will contain all rules adopted by the each agency, all history notes, indexes to all rules, and all other materials required or authorized by law which will be useful to the department.

Fla. Stat. § 120.565 provides that any person adversely affected by the rule making of administrative agency can seek a declaratory judgment relating to the applicability of any statutory provision, rule or order of the agency.  This must be related to the particular set of circumstances affecting that person.

According to Fla. Stat. § 120.573, disputes can be settled through mediation if mediation is available for that type of administrative action in question and if mediation will not affect the right to an administrative hearing.

Fla. Stat. § 120.60 discusses the licensing provisions under the Act.  When an applicant seeks a license an agency cannot deny license on the ground that the applicant failed to correct an error or omission or failed to supply additional information.  An agency can either approve or deny the application for license within 90 days after the receipt of the complete application.

Fla. Stat. § 120.68 provides that any party adversely affected by an agency decision is entitled to judicial review.  The party can seek judicial review in an appellate district where the agency has its headquarters or where the party resides or in a place otherwise provided by law.  The record for judicial review must be assembled in accordance with the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure.

According to Fla. Stat. § 120.68, any agency can seek enforcement of its action by filing a petition before the circuit where the subject matter for enforcement is located.  Enforcement petition for an agency action can also be filed by any person who has substantial interest in the concerned matter.

Every agency must review its rules to ensure that the rules are correct and comply with the statutory requirements.  This Act must not be interpreted to repeal any provision of the Florida Statutes which grants the right to a circuit court proceeding or to deny the circuit court’s jurisdiction to render declaratory judgments.


Inside Administrative Procedure Act – Florida