Monday, October 20, 2014

Jurisdiction of the Administrative Law Court

Click here for Jurisdiction details (Updated January 2009).

The Court has jurisdiction over four types of matters:

Contested cases.  Administrative law judges preside as the fact finder in contested cases involving departments of the executive branch of state government in which a single hearing officer, or an administrative law judge, is authorized or permitted by law or regulation to hear and decide these cases, with certain exceptions.  The Court’s contested case jurisdiction is outlined in S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600(B). 

Appeals.  Administrative law judges hear all appeals from final decisions of contested cases heard by state agencies pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, Article I, Section 22 of the South Carolina Constitution, or another law, except for appeals from final decisions of the Public Service Commission, the State Ethics Commission, the Procurement Review Panel, the Workers’ Compensation Commission, and the Employment Security Commission.  The Court’s appellate jurisdiction is defined in S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600(D). 

Regulation hearings.  Administrative law judges preside over public hearings held during the promulgation of regulations by a department of state government for which the governing authority is a single director.  Upon the conclusion of a regulation hearing, an administrative law judge issues a written report including findings as to the need and reasonable ness of the proposed regulation.  If the report includes a finding of a lack of need or reasonableness, the report may include suggested modifications to the proposed regulation.  For more information concerning regulation hearings, refer to S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-111.

Requests for injunctive relief.  The Administrative Law Court has jurisdiction to hear requests for injunctive or equitable relief filed by state agencies which are authorized by law to seek such relief.  The Court may review and enforce an administrative process issued by a department of the executive branch of government, such as a subpoena or cease and desist order.  In addition, a party aggrieved by an administrative process issued by an executive branch agency may apply to the Court for relief from the process.  Under the South Carolina Administrative Procedures Act, administrative law judges have the power to issue those remedial writs as are necessary to give effect to the Court’s jurisdiction.  Further, administrative law judges have the same power at chambers or in open court as do circuit court judges, including the power of contempt.

Appellate Review of ALC Decisions

All decisions of an administrative law judge, except regulation hearing reports and interlocutory orders, are subject to appellate review.  Effective July 1, 2006, all appeals from decisions of administrative law judges are heard by the Court of Appeals, except for cases involving DHEC Ocean and Coastal Resource Management and Environmental Quality Control permits which are pending in the Administrative Law Court as of July 1, 2006.  For those cases only, the DHEC Board will hear the appeals in accordance with former law. 

The Court’s hearings and proceedings are open to the public unless confidentiality is allowed or required by law.