Administrative Procedure Act – Tennessee

Tennessee has enacted the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. It can be found in Title 4, chapter 5 of the Tennessee Code.  As per Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-201, any municipality, corporation or any five or more persons having an interest in a rule may petition an agency requesting the adoption, amendment or repeal of such rule.  Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-202 requests an agency to precede all its rulemaking proceedings with notice and a public hearing.

According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-203, forty-five days prior to the date set for the hearing, an agency should give written notice of hearings to the secretary of state for publication in the administrative register web site.  As per Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-204, an agency should hold a public hearing to afford all interested persons an opportunity to present facts, views or arguments relative to the proposal under consideration.  Also, prior to holding the public hearing agency may solicit comments from the public on possible rulemaking.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-205 provides that an agency should consider fully all written and oral submissions respecting proposed rules.  Further, an agency may appoint committees of experts or interested persons or representatives of the general public to advise it with respect to any contemplated rulemaking.

As per Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-206, the secretary of state should file the rules of each agency in a convenient and accessible manner.  Further, the secretary of state should endorse on each copy of rule filed, the time and date of filing and should maintain a file of such rules for public inspection.  Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-207 provides that a rule become effective after ninety days of filing such rule in the office of the secretary of state.

According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-208, if an agency finds that an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare requires adoption of a rule without prior notice or hearing and states in writing its reasons for that finding, it may proceed without prior notice or hearing to adopt an emergency rule.  Such rule is effective for a period of not longer than 180 days.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-211 provides that before filing a rule in the office of the secretary of state, such rule should be filed with the office of the attorney general and reporter.  The office of the attorney general and reporter should review the legality and constitutionality of every rule filed and may approve or disapprove of rules based upon the attorney general’s determination of the legality of such rules.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-219 directs the secretary of state to adopt, model rules of procedure appropriate for use by as many agencies as possible.  The model rules should deal with all general functions and duties performed in common by several agencies.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-223  requires an agency to issue a declaratory order with respect to the validity or applicability of a statute, rule or order within the primary jurisdiction of the agency, on a petition of any person affected by a rule.  A declaratory order will be binding between the agency and parties on the state of facts alleged in the petition unless it is altered or set aside by the agency or a court in a proper proceeding.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-226 provides that rules promulgated by an agency may be reviewed by the government operations committees of the senate and the House of Representatives meeting jointly or separately.

According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-306, before proceeding in a contested case, the administrative judge or hearing officer may convene a pre-hearing conference to consider:

  • simplification of issues,
  • necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings,
  • the possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and of documents that will avoid unnecessary proof,
  • the limitation of the number of expert witnesses, and
  • such other matters as may aid in the disposition of the action.

As per Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-307, in a contested case, all parties should be afforded an opportunity for hearing after reasonable notice.  Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-311 provides that in a contested case, the administrative judge or hearing officer may issue subpoenas, effect discovery, and issue protective orders.  According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-312, the administrative judge or hearing officer should afford to all parties the opportunity to respond, present evidence and argument, conduct cross-examination, and submit rebuttal evidence.

According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-314, a final order or decision should include conclusions of law, the policy reasons, and findings of fact, including the remedy prescribed.  The final order or decision should also include a statement of the available procedures and time limits for seeking reconsideration or other administrative relief and the time limits for seeking judicial review of the final order.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-322 provides that a person who is aggrieved by a final decision in a contested case is entitled to judicial review.  Proceedings for review are to be instituted by filing a petition for review in the chancery court of Davidson County.  Such petition should be filed within sixty days after the entry of the agency’s final order.  According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-5-323, an aggrieved party may obtain a review of any final judgment of the chancery court by appeal to the court of appeals of Tennessee.


Inside Administrative Procedure Act – Tennessee