What Is the Scope of Judicial Review of An Administrative Agency's Decision ?
This power of review, whether authorized by statute or assumed inherently, cannot be a substitution of the court's judgment for that of the administrative agency.
In those instances where an administrative agency is acting in a manner which may be considered legislative in nature (quasi-legislative), the judiciary's scope of review of that particular action is limited to assessing whether the agency was acting within its legal boundaries. Fogle v. H&G Restaurant, 337 Md. 441, 454, 654 A.2d 449 (1995).
State agencies often perform functions that are legislative in nature. Promulgation of new regulations by agencies is one of these so-called quasi-legislative activities.
Furthermore, while it is well-settled that there must be sufficient guidance given when legislative authority is delegated to agencies, we have held that "the modern tendency of the courts is toward greater liberality in permitting grants of discretion to administrative officials in order to facilitate the administration of laws as the complexity of governmental and economic conditions increase." Id. at 453.
The "substantial evidence" standard of judicial review, as set forth in 215(c)(2), namely, whether a reasoning mind could have reached the factual conclusion the agency reached, is inapplicable as our prior cases indicate where the agency is acting in a quasi-legislative mode in considering and adopting regulations within the boundaries of its rule-making authority.
See also Montgomery County v. Woodward & Lothrop, Inc., 280 Md. 686, 711, 376 A.2d 483 (1977). It is thus "not the function of the courts to pass upon the wisdom of the regulation, or to approve or disapprove it, if it does not exceed constitutional limits." Givner v. Commissioner of Health, 207 Md. 184, 192, 113 A.2d 899 (1954).