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Florida Legal Research Overview: Administrative Law

Administrative Rules

The online Florida Administrative Code (FAC) is the official version of administrative rules for Florida. Florida Administrative Register (FAR) is the daily publication which gives the current information about the status of rules moving through the rulemaking process. FAR includes proposed rules, emergency rules, notices of change, corrections and withdrawals and notices of agency public meetings, workshops and hearings, and miscellaneous actions.

Looking at a Florida Administrative Code Rule

Statutory authority

In order for an agency to make a rule, the agency must be authorized by law to take the action specified in the rule and to engage in rulemaking.

The Florida Statutes, going back to 1997, can be viewed on "Online Sunshine", the official website of the Florida Legislature:

How to go from a rule to a statute: 


Two types of statutory authority allow the Florida Department of Education to have this rule in place. 

Specific authority is the law which states that the agency can make a rule.  In 2005, when the rule became final, s. 1001.74(4), Florida Statutes read, "Each board of trustees may adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54  to implement the provisions of law conferring duties upon it. Such rules must be consistent with rules of the State Board of Education."

The law implemented is the substantive law which the rule will expand on or clarify.  In this example, s. 1001.74(10), Florida Statutes is the law implemented. 

DOAH Final Orders

A person affected by an agency's decision can appeal the decision to the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH).  DOAH issues a Recommended Order to the agency.  The agency then issues a Final Order.  

Go to DOAH's website:

Click "Case Search" in the left side of the screen.

The advantage to using DOAH is that you will be able to view almost all filings in the case, not just the Recommended Orders which are available in Lexis-Nexis or WestLaw.

Finding an agency website

Florida's APA

Chapter 120, in  Florida Statutes is the Administrative Procedures Act which describes the rulemaking process for Florida's agencies.  This process involves publishing proposed rules, and accepting and responding to public comment on those rules.  If an agency takes action which is not supported by a formal rule or by law, then that agency has acted outside of the authority delegated to it by the legislature, and it's action may be challenged on that grounds.

;A Pocket Guide to Florida's Administrative Procedure Act

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