Florida Real Estate Continuing Education
Q: I need to write an appeal for an administrative decision (revoked Real
Estate license). I'm in Florida and doing this Pro-Se. What are the elements
when writing up a notice of Appeal? I take it would need a case number and
name and addresses. Anything else? From what I see I can send in a brief
within 10 day. In the brief is where I state my case. Right?
A:From your description, your real estate renewal falls within the ambit of Florida Statute 455, and the Real Estate Board is an inferior agency to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. First, before reaching the procedure of your case, a relevant notice is posted on the Board's Web Site: Renewals come due on 9/30/2006 but since that is a Saturday, you have until 10/2/2006 to renew. Of course, you will need to have all your continuing education requirements fulfilled with notice from the institution to the Board before that date. The Board requires all certified institututions to notify it within 30 days of course completion. Another relevancy before reaching procedure, your case is not listed on the online case file of the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH for short), where it should be recorded if indeed there was an administrative adjudication, as you say. In Florida, the law guiding administrative procedure is Florida Statute 120, the Administrative Procedure Act. Ordinarily, a formal hearing would be held under F.S. 120.57 before DOAH. You are one party; the other is, The Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The result of such a hearing is an Order with your right to appeal clearly set forth at the end. However, such hearings in this state don't go by the board mysteriously. They are noticed and the finest, administrative, due process should be given the parties. The caveat of "should be" is inserted because these days one never knows with DOAH. In the past, however, before the Governor designated his own appointee over the agency, it was the finest administrative tribunal in the country. And it is especially pro se friendly. Besides the F.S. 120.57 procedure, DOAH affords many other causes of action, some of which can be joined with the formal administrative hearing, such as a challenge to a rule or unexpressed practice under F.S. 120.56. Others, like petitions for declaratory statements, akin to judicial declaratory judgements, are separate actions. The decision under a 120.57 formal hearing is a recommended order that the agency can reverse, if it wishes, and that gives rise to your right to appeal. However, a decision under F.S. 120.56 is a final, administrative decision, irreversible in the administrative sector. It can also be appealed to the judiciary. Judicial appeals from DOAH decisions are no different than judicial appeals from circuit court decision in that both rely on the record in the lower tribunal. DOAH decisions are less likely to be reversed on appeal because of the judiciary's deference to the unique expertise of agencies. In all the actions with which I'm familiar that you can initiate (meaning you're not the respondent but the petitioner), you can elect either the judicial route at the Circuit Court level or the administrative route at the DOAH level. I've found DOAH superior. Once the election is made, you're barred from taking the alternative route. One other piece of information, in appearances before DOAH, besides pro se, you can retain a non-lawyer as a "Qualified Representative" under 28-106.105 and 28-106.106, Florida Administrative Code. Many non-lawyers, and some lawyers I presume, work pro bono (for free).
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