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Hawai`i Legal Research: About Administrative Law

Links to online legal resources for researching Hawaii laws.

About the Code of Hawaii Rules

The Code of Hawaii Rules is a compilation of official rules issued by state agencies in Hawaii.  The overall structure of the Code was established from the 1995 Hawaii Administrative Rules Directory as compiled by the Legislative Reference Bureau and is based on issuing agencies.  The rule numberisng system is the system prescrived by the revisor of statutes and is similar to the format used in the Hawaii Revised Statutes

Updates to (print) Weil's Code of Hawaii Rules.

About Administrative Law

What is Administrative Law?

Administrative law refers to the rules, regulations, orders and decisions of administrative agencies of the government. State agencies are given power by the state legislature to enforce certain statutes.

In Hawaii, Chapter 91 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes is the Administrative Procedures Act.  The Uniform State Procedures Act of 1961 was passed in 1961 as Act 103.  Sometimes referred to as HAPA, the Hawaii Administrative Procedures Act, the legislation was adopted "to provide uniform administrative procedures for all state and county boards, commissions, departments or offices which would encompass procedure of rule making and adjudication of contested cases." Bush v. Hawaiian Homes Comm'n, 76 Haw. 128, 133, 870 P.2d 1272, 1277 (1994) (quoting Hse. Stand. Comm. Rep. No. 8, in 1961 House Journal, at 653).

Where do I start?

A good place to begin is with the relevant statute from the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Once you have the statute citation, look for a statute setting forth which agency oversees enforcement of the statute. This is usually titled “enforcement jurisdiction” and can be found in the same chapter.

Next, find the authority statute for that agency. This may be cross-referenced in the enforcement statute, or you can find it by looking up the agency in the index. The Authority Statute lists the powers and functions granted to an agency. The agency cannot exceed this power. Remember to check pocket parts for updates. 

Agencies may be given quasi-legislative authority, quasi-judicial authority, or both. Quasi-legislative authority allows the agency to promulgate rules and regulations, which are similar to statutes. Quasi-judicial authority allows the agency to hear cases and issue decisions, similar to what judges do in case law.

Finding Administrative Rules and Regulations

Hawaii’s administrative rules and regulations are not officially codified.

  1. In Print
    • Weil’s Code of Hawaii Rules is the unofficial publication of administrative regulations. In the Reference Area of the Law Library KFH35 1998 .A4
  2. Agency Websites - links follow

Attorney General Opinions

The Attorney General is the legal counsel for many agencies and issues opinions on various administrative law topics.

  1. In print
    • Listing of Opinions Issued by Attorney-General, State of Hawaii, KFH440.5 .A23
  2. Online - Attorney General website: http://hawaii.gov/ag/main/publications/opinions/
    • (1987 – Present; Chronologically listed, and not searchable by title or subject)