Legal Authority for Administrative Appeals
Updated on January 2, 2020
This article outlines the applicable legal authority for an appeal from an administrative order.
- Commencement of an Administrative Appeal
- Final orders of the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support (OAH) may be appealed to the district court by any party directly affected and showing aggrievement by the order, or by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. 56 O.S. § 240.3
- An appeal shall be commenced by filing a petition in error with the clerk of the district court in the county of the underlying district court order, if any, or if there is no underlying district court order filed in this state, the petition in error shall be filed in the county of residence of the custodian of the child, or if the custodian resides out-of-state, in the county of residence of the obligor within thirty (30) days from the date the order is either provided in person or mailed by OAH to all parties. The time limit prescribed in this paragraph for filing the petition in error shall not be extended. The petition in error shall be served by certified mail on the district child support office. Further, a copy of the petition in error shall be mailed by regular mail to the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support. 56 O.S. § 240.3(A)(2)
- The purpose of an appeal is to correct legally cognizable errors. It is not an opportunity to retry a case.
- Appellate jurisdiction is limited jurisdiction for the reviewing court and this limited jurisdiction must be invoked by filing a Petition in Error within 30 days of a final administrative order. 56 O.S. § 240.3 ,OAC 340:2-28-55, and Okla. Sup.Ct.R. 1.3.
- All parties to the order must be given notice of the action by regular mail. Okla. Sup.Ct.R. 1.23(c).
- The Petition in Error shall be served by certified mail on the district child support office. A copy of the Petition in Error shall be mailed by regular mail to the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support. 56 O.S. § 240.3(A)(2).
- Upon filing a Petition in Error, the Appellant shall also file a Designation of Record with the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support (OAH). Once Appellant has filed a Designation of Record, a copy should also be filed in District Court. 56 O.S. § 240.3(A)(3), Okla. Sup.Ct.R. 1.28(b), and OAC 340:2-28-25.
- Appellee(s) shall file a Response to Petition in Error in the district court within the time period prescribed in Okla. Sup.Ct.R. 1.25(c).
- Appellee(s) shall file a Counter-Designation of Record with the Office of Administrative Hearings: Child Support (OAH). Once Appellee(s) has filed a Counter-Designation of Record, a copy should also be filed in District Court. 56 O.S. § 240.3, Okla. Sup.Ct.R. 1.28(c), and OAC 340:2-28-25.
- OAH prepares the record once the time has elapsed for Appellee’s Counter-Designation of Record. Okla. Sup.Ct.R. 1.28(c). and Okla. Sup.Ct.R. 1.34.
- OAH prepares or directs preparation of the official transcript by a licensed court reporter, when a transcript is requested. OAC 340:2-28-23.
- The review is upon the record and is not a de novo review. 56 O.S. § 240.3.
- There are no time limits for briefing or decision. A scheduling conference and order will help keep the case moving. The scheduling order should be entered after the record and transcript (if requested) have been prepared and transmitted to the parties and the district court by OAH.
- Once briefing is complete, the district court may allow oral argument that is confined to the issues on appeal. This hearing is not an evidentiary hearing and should be held on the record. The district court may affirm, remand for further proceedings, set aside, modify, or reverse the administrative order if it determines that the agency’s findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:
- in violation of constitutional provisions;
- in excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of OAH;
- made upon unlawful procedure;
- affected by other error of law; or
- clearly erroneous as not supported by substantial evidence in the record,
- arbitrary or capricious, or
- made without findings of fact upon issues essential to the decision, although such findings of fact were requested.
- The reviewing court shall affirm the administrative order if it is found to be valid and the proceedings are free from prejudicial error.
- The district court’s order may then be appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court according to the Oklahoma Supreme Court rules. Okla. Sup.Ct.R. 1.23.