Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 7. Judicial Review of Contested Cases

Standards Of Review

2-4-704. Standards of review. (1) The review must be conducted by the court without a jury and must be confined to the record. In cases of alleged irregularities in procedure before the agency not shown in the record, proof of the irregularities may be taken in the court. The court, upon request, shall hear oral argument and receive written briefs.

(2) The court may not substitute its judgment for that of the agency as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The court may affirm the decision of the agency or remand the case for further proceedings. The court may reverse or modify the decision if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because:

(a) the administrative findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:

(i) in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions;

(ii) in excess of the statutory authority of the agency;

(iii) made upon unlawful procedure;

(iv) affected by other error of law;

(v) clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence on the whole record;

(vi) arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion; or

(b) findings of fact, upon issues essential to the decision, were not made although requested.

(3) If a petition for review is filed challenging a licensing or permitting decision made pursuant to Title 75 or Title 82 on the grounds of unconstitutionality, as provided in subsection (2)(a)(i), the petitioner shall first establish the unconstitutionality of the underlying statute.

History: En. Sec. 16, Ch. 2, Ex. L. 1971; amd. Sec. 17, Ch. 285, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 82-4216(6), (7); amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 83, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 361, L. 2003.