What if My Appeal is Not Governed by the APA?

Note: This document is a summary of important points found in Chapter 14 of the Washington Administrative Law Practice Manual (WALPM). It is not comprehensive; the text needs to be consulted for applicability to specific situations.

What is a Non-APA Administrative Appeal?

Decisions or orders from local governmental agencies or municipal corporations can be appealed to the Superior Court. The Administrative Procedure Act does not apply to these entities.

What Laws Govern Non-APA Administrative Appeals?

The three avenues for judicial review of administrative decisions are:

  • Direct appeal authorized by statute. You should consult the specific statute governing the appropriate local government action in question. For example, the Land Use Petition Act covers judicial review of land use decisions. RCW 36.70C.
  • Statutory writ of certiorari. RCW 7.16. Local government action is reviewable by statutory writ of certiorari.
  • Inherent authority of the courts: The Constitutional writ of review. Article IV, Section 6 of the Washington State Constitution states that the Superior Court has inherent power to review administrative decisions for illegal or manifestly arbitrary acts.

How to Proceed:

  • Exhaust all procedural requirements specified in applicable statutes or ordinances.
  • Follow the standard form for application for judicial review consistent with RCW 7.16. This section of the RCW covers Certiorari, Mandamus, and Prohibition.
  • Examine Washington Administrative Law Practice Manual (WALPM) §14.05 for a discussion of the form of the writ, production of the record, and briefing.
  • Review the sample petition for a writ of mandamus in Washington Criminal Practice in Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, Vol. 2, Form 63 & Form 66.