If you disagree with the decision of a Maryland state government agency, you may be able to seek a review of that decision. How you seek review of an agency decision depends on the type of case and agency involved.
Some agency decisions must be appealed to the Office of Administrative Hearings:
- The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) is a separate government agency.
- OAH conducts hearings and makes final decisions for some but not all government agencies. The Maryland legislature requires OAH to conduct hearings for certain agency decisions. Other times, the agency may choose to have OAH conduct hearings on its behalf.
- Confirm with the agency whether you should request a hearing with OAH or if you must pursue a different process through the agency itself.
- If OAH holds hearings over your type of agency decision, file an appeal with the Office of Administrative Hearings. You should pursue all the available options for review, if you disagree with a decision.
- Then, if you disagree with the final OAH decision, you can file a petition at a Maryland circuit court requesting review of that decision.
Some agency decisions must be appealed within the agency:
- Some agencies are not required to have OAH hold hearings on their behalf and the agency chooses not to.
- Agencies that fall into this category may have internal procedures to follow to appeal a decision.
- To appeal a decision, you must follow any procedures the agency has before seeking review in circuit court.
Final agency decisions may be reviewed by a circuit court:
- You can only request the court to review an agency decision that is final. This means there are no more actions for the agency to take, and you do not have the option to appeal further at the OAH or within the agency.
- To request a court to review the agency decision, file a petition with the circuit court. Read more about this process under Judicial Review below.
A petition to circuit court asking the court to review an agency decision is a petition for judicial review.
When to File?
You must file your petition at the circuit court within 30 days from the notice of a final decision. You must receive a final decision before filing anything with the circuit court. If you can still appeal the decision within the Office of Administrative Hearings or the agency, you must do so first.
What to File?
You will have to write the petition yourself. There are no forms for filing an administrative appeal. You can find the requirements for filing the petition in the Maryland Rules. You can view the rules online at the State Law Library website. Maryland Rule 7-202 describes what to include in the petition. You can also visit a law library to view sample petitions for judicial review.
Where to File?
You must file your petition at a circuit court. Each county in Maryland has one circuit court. You should file in a county where any party resides. You can find the locations of each circuit court in our online courts directory.
What Happens After You File?
The agency submits a record of the previous hearing or proceeding to the circuit court. You may be responsible for costs related to the creation of the record. After the court receives the record, you will have 30 days to file a memorandum. You can find the requirements for a memorandum in Maryland Rule 7-207. Your memorandum should include laws and cases that support your position. You should conduct legal research and view sample memorandum at a law library.
The court will set a hearing date. At the hearing, you may present to the judge your reason for why the judge should agree with you. The agency will have the opportunity to present their argument as well. The judge will not consider new evidence, except for in certain circumstances. You will receive written notice of the judge’s decision.
Does Filing a Petition for Judicial Review Stop the Agency from Taking Action?
No. You must file a written request to the circuit court to stop the administrative agency from acting on its decision. The written request is a motion to stay the agency’s action. File the motion to stay in your case for judicial review. Maryland Rule 7-205 requires the circuit court to first hold a hearing on the motion before granting the request. The court does not have to hold a hearing to deny the request. At the hearing, you can present to the court your reasons for the court to stop the agency for acting. The court can grant or deny your request.