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How-To: Write a Petition for Declaratory Statement

Background: You need to do something in Florida
Problem: You're not sure how your intended action fits into the state's legal framework
Solution: You ask the appropriate state agency to declare how you must proceed

I. Legal Citations

§120.565 FS | Declaratory Statements by Agencies
"(1) Any substantially affected person may seek a declaratory statement regarding an agency’s opinion as to the applicability of a statutory provision, or of any rule or order of the agency, as it applies to the petitioner’s particular set of circumstances." "(3) The agency shall give notice of the filing of each petition in the next available issue of the Florida Administrative Register and transmit copies of each petition to the committee. The agency shall issue a declaratory statement or deny the petition within 90 days after the filing of the petition." Art. III §16(c) Florida Constitution | Legislative Apportionment
"(c) JUDICIAL REVIEW OF APPORTIONMENT. Within fifteen days after the passage of the joint resolution of apportionment, the attorney general shall petition the supreme court of the state for a declaratory judgment determining the validity of the apportionment. The supreme court, in accordance with its rules, shall permit adversary interests to present their views and, within thirty days from the filing of the petition, shall enter its judgment." 28-105.001 FAC | Purpose and Use of Declaratory Statement
"A declaratory statement is a means for resolving a controversy or answering questions or doubts concerning the applicability of statutory provisions, rules, or orders over which the agency has authority. A petition for declaratory statement may be used to resolve questions or doubts as to how the statutes, rules, or orders may apply to the petitioner’s particular circumstances. A declaratory statement is not the appropriate means for determining the conduct of another person."

II. Samples

# PDF Comments
1FCHR | 2020. TBD submission. Pro Se Filing. Bribery. §760.06(4) vs Art. I §21 FL Constitution
2DOAH | 2013. Attorney Filing. County Schools. After School Program. Rule 6A-6.0910 FAC.
3DOAH | 2005. Attorney Filing. Environmental Protection. Field Permit. Rule 62B-33.008(13) FAC.
4DOAH | 2007. Attorney Filing. Department of Health. Invalidate Prior Decl Stat. §627.736 FS.
5DOAH | 2016. ✓ Granted!!! Attorney Filing. Building Commission. Annual Evaluation. §312.9 FS.
6DOAH | 2018. ✓ Granted!!! Attorney Filing. Pari-Mutuel. Horses. Slot Machines. §550.3551(6)(a)
7DOAH | 2019. Pro Se Filing. Fish & Wildlife Commission. Derelict Vessel. §823.11.

III. Templates

# Word Comments
1Petition | Replace all placeholder tags with real information (eg "[plfName]" becomes "John Doe").

IV. Quick Commentary

V. Additional Notes

  • Ministerial Duty. According to §120.565 and 28-105 FAC, state agencies have a ministerial duty to provide you a Final Order within 90 days.
    • If they fail to do so, however, then you can compel them with a Writ of Mandamus
      • Click Here to Learn How
  • Before 1996, Petitions for Declaratory Statements could be aimed at addressing a single individual's situation only. After '96, they could be addressed to a situation that multiple people could encounter.
  • Appellate Interpretation: A Declaratory Statement is the administrative equivalent to the judiciary's Declaratory Judgment
  • The Florida Administrative Register used to be called the Florida Administrative Weekly
    • The "Weekly" title was literal, because the government issued it only once per week.
      • And the files were much larger (1.25MB vs 0.25MB)
    • On-or-around October 2, 2012, the government began releasing them on a daily basis
  • Section VII (Notice of Petitions and Dispositions Regarding Declaratory Statements) of each Florida Administrative Register is dedicated to notifying the public of Petitions for Declaratory Statements
    • Therefore, you can always check FAR for any such petition.
  • §120.54 FS provides state administrative agencies with rulemaking authority

V. Additional Resources

  • §2.41 Florida Administrative Practice Manual (11th Edition)
    • LexisNexis®
    • Florida Bar, The
    • © 2017

VI. Bibliography

VI. Conclusion

A Declaratory Statement can help provide you guidance on how you can proceed when you have doubts on the topic. Thereby saving you future litigation.

With the use of the template (as well as the samples above), you can more easily petition your state agency (eg, the FCHR) for a Declaratory Statement.

Congratulations! You're now booked up on how to write a Petition for Declaratory Statement!

Please get the justice you deserve.


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