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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Welcker v. Georgia Board of Examiners of Psychologists

Legal Decision

Synopsis: Georgia State Board of Psychology is permitted to deny a license to an applicant, when the applicant's doctoral program does not meet the residency requirement, and, without substantial hardship.

Here are two excerpts:

Neither the Board's decision to deny Welcker a license nor their denial of her petition for waiver can be considered a contested case. Georgia law allows the denial of a license without a hearing where an applicant fails to show that she has met all the qualifications for that license. OCGA § 43-1-19 (a). Therefore, because no hearing was required by law before the denial of Welcker's license, the Board's denial of Welcker's license application does not present a contested case subject to judicial review.

The Board's decision to deny a petition for waiver also cannot be considered a contested case. OCGA § 43-1-19 (j) explicitly states that the "refusal to issue a previously denied license" shall not be considered a contested case under the Administrative Procedure Act and "notice and hearing with the meaning of the [Act] shall not be required"; however, the applicant "shall be allowed to appear before the board if he or she so requests." Nevertheless, such rulings are expressly made subject to judicial review under OCGA § 50-13-9.1 (f), which provides that "[t]he agency's decision to deny a petition for variance or waiver shall be subject to judicial review in accordance with Code Section 50-13-19."


The Board denied Welcker's petition for waiver on two grounds: (1) her failure to meet the appropriate residency requirements "as per the Board rules in effect in 2007" and (2) her failure to prove a substantial hardship resulting from strict application of the rule.

The ruling is here.