§91-7  Declaratory judgment on validity of rules.  (a)  Any interested person may obtain a judicial declaration as to the validity of an agency rule as provided in subsection (b) by bringing an action against the agency in the circuit court or, if applicable, the environmental court, of the county in which the petitioner resides or has its principal place of business.  The action may be maintained whether or not the petitioner has first requested the agency to pass upon the validity of the rule in question.

     (b)  The court shall declare the rule invalid if it finds that it violates constitutional or statutory provisions, or exceeds the statutory authority of the agency, or was adopted without compliance with statutory rulemaking procedures. [L 1961, c 103, §7; Supp, §6C-7; HRS §91-7; am L 2014, c 218, §3]


Attorney General Opinions


  Agency rule adopted under former version of statute without authority upon statute's amendment.  Att. Gen. Op. 85-13.


Case Notes


  Plaintiff required to exhaust remedy under this section before resorting to federal court to attack regulation as unconstitutional.  252 F. Supp. 223.

  Rules not adopted in compliance with chapter 91 are invalid.  55 H. 478, 522 P.2d 1255.

  Dismissal of complaint for declaratory judgment for failure to join indispensable parties held erroneous.  58 H. 292, 568 P.2d 1189.

  "Interested persons."  63 H. 166, 623 P.2d 431.

  Plaintiff had standing under "injury in fact" test to bring action under this section where plaintiff alleged injury by insurer's denial of medical treatment, injury fairly traceable to agency's rules, and decision precluding use of rule would likely provide plaintiff relief.  82 H. 249, 921 P.2d 169.

  A water management area designation under chapter 174C may not be challenged in an original action pursuant to this section.  83 H. 484, 927 P.2d 1367.

  A plaintiff seeking "a judicial declaration as to the validity of an agency rule", pursuant to this section, must "reside or have its principal place of business" in the county in which the adjudicating circuit court sits; initiating an action under this section in the wrong circuit is a defect of jurisdiction mandating dismissal.  114 H. 87, 157 P.3d 526.

  For purposes of declaratory actions brought pursuant to subsection (a), the circuit court of the plaintiff's domicile is the only circuit court that may exercise jurisdiction over the subject matter.  114 H. 87, 157 P.3d 526.

  Petitioner had standing to challenge the validity of §3-122-66 (repealed), Hawaii administrative rules, as mandated by "the needs of justice"; petitioner was not required to satisfy the three-part injury in fact test to obtain standing as an "interested person".  132 H. 333, 322 P.3d 228 (2014).

  The circuit court's ruling that §3-122-66 (repealed), Hawaii administrative rules, was invalid satisfied the statutory mandate of this section; the court did not err in refusing to declare that the rule "has never been valid and has always been ultra vires and void ab initio".  132 H. 333, 322 P.3d 228 (2014).

  Under this section, court authorized to order ancillary, affirmative relief.  5 H. App. 419, 697 P.2d 43; 6 H. App. 160, 715 P.2d 813.

  Cited:  939 F. Supp. 746.