Administrative Procedure Act – Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Administrative Procedure Act (“Act”) is found in Part I, Title III, Chapter 30A of the Annotated Laws of Massachusetts.  According to the Act a public hearing is to be conducted before adopting, amending, or repealing a regulation if, violation of the regulation is punishable with fine or imprisonment, a public hearing is required by the enabling legislation of the agency, by any other law or as a matter of constitutional right.  If public hearing is not required by law then the agency must provide the party with an opportunity to present their views, data or arguments.  All notices filed in accordance with the Act must be published by the secretary for state one week prior to the date of hearing or related action.

According to ALM GL ch. 30A, § 4, any interested person can petition the agency for adopting, amending or repealing a rule along with the relevant data, views and arguments.

ALM GL ch. 30A, § 5 provides that each agency must file the copies of the regulations with the state secretary and the state secretary will accept them for filing.  The state secretary will make and publish in compliance with the rules and procedures prescribed under this Act, those regulations which are not inconsistent with other provisions of law.  Documents required to be printed by this Act will be printed and published by the state secretary in a biweekly publication called Massachusetts register (“register”).  Regulations other than emergency regulations will become effective only when published in the register.  The contents of the register must be judicially noticed and cited without prejudice to any other mode of citation.  Before publishing in the register the state secretary will publish all currently effective agency regulations in a special publication called Code of Massachusetts Regulations (“Code”).  Each agency must make available for public inspection all the regulations otherwise the state secretary will report this matter to the governor and attorney general.

According to ALM GL ch. 30A, § 7, judicial review of any regulation or adoption of any emergency regulation can be done through an action for declaratory relief.  Further, an agency can make an advisory ruling with respect to the applicability of a regulation to any person, property, state of facts of any statute or regulation enforced or administered by that agency, if so requested by that person.

ALM GL ch. 30A, § 9 provides that the agencies can with the approval of the commissioner of administration, file with the secretary, rules for the conduct of adjudicatory proceedings which substitute or are additions to the standard rules filed by the commissioner.  In any adjudicatory proceeding an agency must provide each party with a reasonable opportunity for full and fair hearing.

According to ALM GL ch. 30A, § 13, an agency must not revoke or refuse to renew a license without giving the licensee an opportunity for fair hearing.  If the licensee has made timely and sufficient application for renewal, then the license will not expire until the agency has made its final determination.

ALM GL ch. 30A, § 14 provides that any person aggrieved by the final decision of an agency in an adjudicatory proceeding can seek judicial review in the superior court for the Suffolk county, county in which the petitioner resides or have the principal place of business, or where the agency has principal office.  The review will be conducted in the court without a jury and will be confined to the record.  The court can affirm the decision, modify it or can remand the matter for further proceedings.

The supreme judicial court and the appellate court has concurrent jurisdiction to review any proceedings, determinations, orders or judgments entered in the superior court. The supreme judicial court or the appellate court can differ with the procedure authorized or required for such review if it finds that the review by the court can be made more simple, speedy and effective.


Inside Administrative Procedure Act – Massachusetts