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Where the law has delineated the procedure by which administrative appeal or remedy
could be effected, the same should be followed before recourse to judicial action can be
A. Legal reason: The law prescribes a procedure.
B. Practical reason: To give the agency a chance to correct its own errors and
prevent unnecessary and premature resort to the courts. If relief is first sought
from a superior administrative agency, resort to the courts may be
C. Reasons of comity: Principles of comity and convenience require that the
courts stay their hand until the administrative processes are completed.
It must be noted, however, that only those decisions of administrative agencies made in
the exercise of quasi-judicial powers are subject to the rule on exhaustion of
administrative remedies.

The administrative agency is performing a quasi-judicial function.
Judicial review is available.
The court acts in its appellate jurisdiction.


It is also known as the doctrine of primary administrative jurisdiction where there is
competence or jurisdiction vested upon an administrative body to act upon a matter, no
resort to the courts may be made before such administrative body shall have acted
upon the matter.
Courts will not intervene if the question to be resolved is one which requires the
expertise of administrative agencies and the legislative intent on the matter is to have
uniformity in the rulings. It can only occur where there is a concurrence of jurisdiction
between the court and the administrative agency.
It is a question of the court yielding to the agency because of the latters expertise, and
does not amount to ouster of the court. 2
Well-entrenched is the rule that courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed
to the sound discretion of the government agency entrusted with the regulation of
activities coming under the special and technical training and knowledge of such
In this era of clogged docket courts, the need for specialized administrative
boards with the special knowledge and capability to hear and determine promptly
disputes on technical matters has become well-nigh indispensable. Between the
power lodged in an administrative body and a court, the unmistakable trend has
been to refer it to the former.
A. Administrative body and the regular court have concurrent and original
B. Question to be resolved requires expertise of administrative agency.
C. Legislative intent on the matter is to have uniformity in rulings.

Bangus Fry Fisherfolk v. Lanzanas, G.R. No.131442, July 10, 2003

2 Texas & Pacific Railway v. Abilene (1907)

D. Administrative agency is performing a quasi-judicial or adjudicatory function.

It is presumed that an administrative agency, if afforded an opportunity to pass upon a
matter, would decide the same correctly, or correct any previous error committed in its
A. If the agency has exclusive jurisdiction
B. When the issue is not within the competence of the administrative body to
C. When the issue involved is clearly a factual question that does not require
specialized skills and knowledge for resolution to justify the exercise of
primary jurisdiction.
The case is not dismissed, but merely suspended until after the matters within the
competence of the administrative agency are threshed out and determined. 4
No resort to the courts will be allowed unless the administrative action has been
completed and there is nothing left to be done in the administrative structure.
The Doctrine of Finality of Administrative Action is a broader doctrine which
encompasses the Doctrine of Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies. It is a
prerequisite for judicial review.
Petitioner did not take an appeal from the order of the Director, Bureau of Labor
Relations, to the Secretary of Labor and Employment, but went directly to court, it was
held that the court action was made prematurely and the petitioner failed to exhaust
administrative remedies.5
A party aggrieved must not merely initiate the prescribed administrative procedure to
obtain relief, but must also pursue it to its appropriate conclusion before seeking judicial
intervention in order to give that administrative agency an opportunity to decide the
matter by itself correctly and prevent unnecessary and premature resort to the courts. 6
1. Effect of failure to exhaust administrative remedies:
The jurisdiction of the court is not affected; but the complainant is deprived of a cause of
action which is a ground for a motion to dismiss. However, if no motion to dismiss is
filed on this ground, there is deemed to be a waiver.7
2. Exceptions to the doctrine:
a. Purely legal questions.
b. Steps to be taken are merely matters of form.
3 Caballes v Sison (2004)
4 Vidad v. RTC(1993)

5 SSS EmployeesAssociation v. Bathan-Velasco, G.R. No. 108765, August

6 Zabat v. Court of Appeals, 338 SCRA 551
7 Republic v. Sandiganbayan (1996)

c. Administrative remedy not exclusive but merely cumulative or concurrent to a

judicial remedy.
d. Validity and urgency of judicial action or intervention.
e. No other plain, speedy, adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law.
f. Resort to exhaustion will only be oppressive and patently.
g. Where the administrative remedy is only permissive or voluntary and not a
prerequisite to the institution of judicial proceedings.
h. Application of the doctrine will only cause great and irreparable damage
which cannot be prevented except by taking the appropriate court action.
i. When it involves the rule-making or quasi-legislative functions of an
administrative agency.
j. Administrative agency is in estoppel.
k. Doctrine of qualified political agency.
l. Subject of controversy is private land in land case proceedings.
m. Blatant violation of due process.
n. Where there is unreasonable delay or official inaction.
o. Administrative action is patently illegal amounting to lack or excess of
p. Resort to administrative remedy will amount to a nullification of a claim.
q. No administrative review provided for by law.
r. Issue of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies rendered moot.
s. In quo warranto proceedings
t. Law expressly provides for a different review procedure.