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Administrative Procedure Act – Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, the Administrative Procedure Act is known as Uniform Administrative Procedure and is found in Title 3, chapter 75 of Laws of Puerto Rico.  According to 3 L.P.R.A. § 2101, agencies should establish rules and procedures for the informal solution of matters submitted for their consideration.

3 L.P.R.A. § 2121 provides that whenever an agency proposes to adopt, amend or repeal a rule or regulation, it should publish a notice in Spanish and in English, in more than one newspaper of general circulation in Puerto Rico and also on the Internet.  Additionally, if the adoption, amendment or repeal of the rule or regulation affects a specific residential community, the agency should publish the same notice in a regional newspaper that circulates in the area where such community is located.

As per 3 L.P.R.A. § 2122, an agency should provide an opportunity to submit comments in writing with in thirty days of notice.  3 L.P.R.A. § 2123 provides that agencies may call for public hearings and the presiding official should prepare a report containing a summary of the oral comments that are made during the hearing.  According to 3 L.P.R.A. § 2126 an agency should keep an official record for public inspection, with all the information related to the proposed adoption of a rule or regulation.

According to 3 L.P.R.A. § 2128, regulations approved by an agency should be submitted to the Department of State.  Similarly, the agency should submit a copy of the regulation to the Legislative Library of the Office of Legislative Services.  Further, the regulations are effective from thirty days after they are filed.  As per 3 L.P.R.A. § 2129, the Secretary of State should prescribe the manner in which the regulations are to be published.  Further, the Secretary of State may issue model regulations for the use of agencies.  Such model regulation applies to all agencies except those agencies which have previously approved regulations for the subject of the model regulation.

3 L.P.R.A. § 2130 provides that the Secretary of State should record the date and hour when copies of regulations are filed in his office.  Further, the Secretary of State should keep a permanent file of said regulations in his office for public inspection.  3 L.P.R.A. § 2131 directs the Secretary of State to examine all regulations to determine their compliance with the regulations approved by him.  If the Secretary of State approves the regulation, s/he should indicate his/her approval on each copy of the regulations and then it is deemed that the regulations are properly filed as required by law.  3 L.P.R.A. § 2135 directs the Secretary of State to compile, codify and publish all regulations as Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Regulations.

3 L.P.R.A. § 2133 provides that in case of emergency, the provisions such as, the publishing of notice, public comments, public hearings and submitting the regulations with the Department of State, may be waived.  However, the Governor has to certify that the public interest requires the regulation or amendment should take effect without delay.

According to 3 L.P.R.A. § 2152, the adjudicatory procedure before an agency may be initiated by the agency itself or by presentation of a complaint, application or petition, in person or in writing.  Further, every agency should adopt regulations to govern their adjudicatory procedures.  3 L.P.R.A. § 2153 provides that every agency may designate examining officials to preside over the adjudicatory procedures.  These officials are designated by the title of administrative judges.

As per 3 L.P.R.A. § 2157, if an agency determines that it is necessary to conduct an adjudicatory hearing, it may summon all the parties to a pre-hearing conference in order to reach a definite agreement, regarding the questions or the evidence to be considered in the hearing.  3 L.P.R.A. § 2159 provides that an agency should give a notice of hearing to all parties, at least fifteen days before the date of the hearing.  According to 3 L.P.R.A. § 2161, hearing should be held public.  However, if one of the parties submits a duly grounded petition for the hearing to be private, the official presiding may authorize it, if s/he understands that it can cause irreparable harm to the petitioner.

3 L.P.R.A. § 2163 provides that at the time of hearing, the official presiding should give all the parties the necessary time for a complete statement of all the facts and questions in dispute, the opportunity to answer, introduce evidence and argue, to cross-examine, and submit refuting evidence.  Further, the presiding official may exclude such evidence that is not pertinent, immaterial, repetitive or not admissible on constitutional or legal grounds.

As per 3 L.P.R.A. § 2164, a final order or resolution should be issued in writing within ninety days after the conclusion of the hearing.  The order or resolution should include the findings of fact, the conclusions of law and the availability of the recourse of reconsideration or review.  Also, the order or resolution should be signed by the head of the agency.

3 L.P.R.A. § 2167 directs an agency to use emergency adjudicatory procedures in any situation in which there is imminent danger to the public health, safety and welfare or which requires immediate action by the agency.

According to 3 L.P.R.A. § 2172, any party who is adversely affected by a final order or resolution of an agency and who has exhausted all the remedies provided by the agency may file a petition for review before the Court of Appeals.  The petition for review may be filed within a term of thirty days from the date the copy of the notice of the order or final resolution was filed in the record of the agency.

3 L.P.R.A. § 2177 provides that any party adversely affected by the resolution of the Court of Appeals may request a review thereof by filing a petition for a writ of certiorari before the Supreme Court.

Inside Administrative Procedure Act – Puerto Rico