Review of An Administrative Decision Time Limit In Illinois

In Illinois, review of an administrative decision may only be obtained by a statutory provision, whereas review of circuit court decisions is guaranteed by the state's constitution. Ultsch v. Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, 226 Ill. 2d 169, 178, 874 N.E.2d 1, 314 Ill. Dec. 91 (2007). Section 1100 of the Unemployment Insurance Act provides that Board decisions are reviewed in accordance with the Administrative Review Law. 820 ILCS 405/1100 (West 2006). The Administrative Review Law is codified as article III of the Code. 735 ILCS 5/3-101 et seq. (West 2006). Under that law, parties to a proceeding before an administrative agency are barred from obtaining judicial review of the agency's decision unless review is sought "within the time and in the manner" provided by the statute. 735 ILCS 5/3-102 (West 2006). If the statutory procedures are not strictly followed, the circuit court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case. Rodriguez v. Sheriff's Merit Commission, 218 Ill. 2d 342, 350, 843 N.E.2d 379, 300 Ill. Dec. 121 (2006). Section 3-103 of the Code provides that "every action to review a final administrative decision shall be commenced by the filing of a complaint and the issuance of summons within 35 days from the date that a copy of the decision sought to be reviewed was served upon the party affected by the decision." 735 ILCS 5/3-103 (West 2006). The 35-day period begins to run upon the date that the decision was mailed. Nudell v. Forest Preserve District, 207 Ill. 2d 409, 420, 799 N.E.2d 260, 278 Ill. Dec. 542 (2003). Furthermore, section 3-103 is read in the context of the governing Statute on Statutes. Rodriguez, 218 Ill. 2d at 351. Section 1.11 of the Statute on Statutes states: "The time within which any act provided by law is to be done shall be computed by excluding the first day and including the last, unless the last day is Saturday or Sunday or is a holiday as defined or fixed in any statute now or hereafter in force in this State, and then it shall also be excluded. If the day succeeding such Saturday, Sunday or holiday is also a holiday or a Saturday or Sunday then such succeeding day shall also be excluded." 5 ILCS 70/1.11 (West 2006). The 35-day time limit required by the Administrative Review Law is an essential element of one's statutory right to seek judicial review and therefore is a jurisdictional requirement that cannot be waived. Fredman Brothers Furniture Co. v. Department of Revenue, 109 Ill. 2d 202, 212, 486 N.E.2d 893, 93 Ill. Dec. 360 (1985).