2010 Georgia Code
O.C.G.A. 50-13-19 (2010)
TITLE 50 - STATE GOVERNMENT
CHAPTER 13 - ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE
ARTICLE 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 50-13-19 - Judicial review of contested cases
50-13-19. Judicial review of contested cases
(a) Any person who has exhausted all administrative remedies available within the agency and who is aggrieved by a final decision in a contested case is entitled to judicial review under this chapter. This Code section does not limit utilization of or the scope of judicial review available under other means of review, redress, relief, or trial de novo provided by law. A preliminary, procedural, or intermediate agency action or ruling is immediately reviewable if review of the final agency decision would not provide an adequate remedy.
(b) Proceedings for review are instituted by filing a petition within 30 days after the service of the final decision of the agency or, if a rehearing is requested, within 30 days after the decision thereon. The petition may be filed in the Superior Court of Fulton County or in the superior court of the county of residence of the petitioner; or, if the petitioner is a corporation, the action may be brought in the Superior Court of Fulton County or in the superior court of the county where the petitioner maintains its principal place of doing business in this state; and provided, further, that all proceedings for review with respect to orders, rules, regulations, or other decisions or directives of the Commissioner of Agriculture may also be brought in the Superior Court of Tift County or the Superior Court of Chatham County. All proceedings for review, however, with respect to orders, rules, regulations, or other decisions or directives of the Public Service Commission must be brought in the Superior Court of Fulton County. Copies of the petition shall be served upon the agency and all parties of record. The petition shall state the nature of the petitioner's interest, the fact showing that the petitioner is aggrieved by the decision, and the ground as specified in subsection (h) of this Code section upon which the petitioner contends that the decision should be reversed or modified. The petition may be amended by leave of court.
(c) Irrespective of any provisions of statute or agency rule with respect to motions for rehearing or reconsideration after a final agency decision or order, the filing of such a motion shall not be a prerequisite to the filing of any action for judicial review or relief; provided, however, that no objection to any order or decision of any agency shall be considered by the court upon petition for review unless such objection has been urged before the agency.
(d)(1) The filing of the petition for judicial review in superior court does not itself stay enforcement of the agency decision. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the agency may grant, or the reviewing court may order, a stay upon appropriate terms for good cause shown.
(2) In cases involving the grant of a permit, permit amendment, or variance by the director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources in which the petition for judicial review in superior court was filed by any person to whom such contested order or action is not directed, a stay shall not be granted unless by order of the superior court upon motion for a temporary restraining order or interlocutory injunction in accordance with Code Section 9-11-65.
(3) The provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection notwithstanding, in any case involving the grant of a permit, permit amendment, or variance by the director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources regarding water withdrawal for farm uses under Code Section 12-5-31 or Code Section 12-5-105, no stay shall be authorized if the petition for judicial review in superior court was filed by any person to whom such order or action is not directed.
(4) In contested cases involving a license to practice medicine or a license to practice dentistry in this state, a reviewing court may order a stay or an agency may grant a stay only if the court or agency makes a finding that the public health, safety, and welfare will not be harmed by the issuance of the stay.
(e) Within 30 days after the service of the petition or within further time allowed by the court, the agency shall transmit to the reviewing court the original or a certified copy of the entire record of the proceeding under review. By stipulation of all parties to the review proceedings, the record may be shortened. A party unreasonably refusing to stipulate to limit the record may be taxed by the court for the additional costs. The court may require or permit subsequent corrections or additions to the record.
(f) If, before the date set for hearing, application is made to the court for leave to present additional evidence and it is shown to the satisfaction of the court that the additional evidence is material and there were good reasons for failure to present it in the proceedings before the agency, the court may order that the additional evidence be taken before the agency upon conditions determined by the court. The agency may modify its findings and decision by reason of the additional evidence and shall file that evidence and any modifications, new findings, or decisions with the reviewing court.
(g) The review shall be conducted by the court without a jury and shall be confined to the record. In cases of alleged irregularities in procedure before the agency, not shown in the record, proof thereon may be taken in the court. The court, upon request, shall hear oral argument and receive written briefs.
(h) The court shall not substitute its judgment for that of the agency as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The court may affirm the decision of the agency or remand the case for further proceedings. The court may reverse or modify the decision if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the administrative findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:
(1) In violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;
(2) In excess of the statutory authority of the agency;
(3) Made upon unlawful procedure;
(4) Affected by other error of law;
(5) Clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence on the whole record; or
(6) Arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.
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