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Administrative Law
Copyright 2017, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

5-48 Administrative Law 48.syn


Ripeness and Finality


Jacob A. Stein; Glenn A. Mitchell; Basil J. Mezines; Joan Mezines Kimmich

Chapter Summary


This chapter discusses the concepts of ripeness and finality of administrative proceedings, which represent the degree of development of the proceeding required for judicial review to be available.

The chapter begins with an overview of the availability of judicial review of agency decisions when such decisions have been formalized and affect the parties in a concrete way. The availability of judicial review requires consideration of the ripeness doctrine, which involves an evaluation of the fitness of the issues for judicial decision and the hardship to the parties due to the withholding of judicial review. The chapter further provides the factors for determining the element of fitness, which involves consideration of whether a legal issue has been presented and whether the agency's action is final under the Administrative Procedure Act. With respect to the fitness element related to the necessity of a legal issue, the chapter distinguishes legal issues from factual issues and provides examples of legal issues that a court may resolve.

The chapter discusses finality as an element of ripeness. The chapter includes examples of cases in which the Supreme Court and lower courts emphasize the application of a pragmatic and flexible approach to determining finality. The chapter then addresses the "collateral order" rule, or "Cohen" test, as an exception to the requirement of finality. The chapter further discusses the unavailability of judicial review if an agency ruling is subject to reconsideration or rehearing by the agency. The chapter next examines the hardship of withholding judicial review as an element of ripeness, which may occur when the agency action has a direct and immediate effect on or causes change in the day-to-day behavior of the complaining party. It covers the required elements of hardship, including detrimental economic impact, added expense, untoward social consequences, or significant environmental damage.

Administrative Law (Matthew Bender) is a current, objective, and authoritative 6-volume treatise and guide, with a special emphasis on federal agencies. It analyzes all aspects of administrative law and the administrative process, including adjudications, hearings, and licenses. Case law on issues is categorized by district and circuit courts, which facilitates research on precedence in the desired jurisdiction. It also includes forms and primary source material for practice.


Ripeness,Ripe,Final,Finality,Administrative Proceeding,Administrative Agencies,Judicial Review,Appeal,Fitness,Hardship,Administrative Procedure Act,APA,Legal Issue,Collateral Order,Cohen,Reconsideration,Rehearing


For further discussion of the finality of agency decisions, see Ch. 36, Agency Orders; and Ch. 39, Decisions under the Administrative Procedure Act.

For further discussion of judicial review of agency actions, see Chs. 43-52 of Part X, Judicial Review.


For further discussion of ripeness and finality with respect to judicial review of agency decisions, see:
  • Antieau on Local Government Law, Second Edition, Ch. 26, Exercise of Authority by Local Administrative Agency (Matthew Bender).
  • Federal Standards of Review, Ch. 14, Administrative Decisionmaking and Availability of Review (Matthew Bender).
  • Moore's Federal Practice--Civil, Ch. 101, Issues of Justiciability; Ch. 202, Final Judgments; Ch. 205, Reviewability of Issues; Ch. 315, Review or Enforcement of an Agency Order--How Obtained; Intervention; Ch. 320, Applicability of Rules to the Review or Enforcement of an Agency Order; and Ch. 409, Jurisdiction over Administrative Agencies and Orders (Matthew Bender).
  • Moore's Manual: Federal Practice and Procedure, Ch. 1, Federal Courts; and Ch. 28, Appeal to Court of Appeals (Matthew Bender).
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