A bill was recently introduced in the Illinois General Assembly that would expand on existing language in the Administrative Review Law (ARL) regarding necessary “parties of record” in a lawsuit challenging an agency’s decision. As a general rule, the ARL requires that “parties of record” be named as defendants in any ARL action to challenge the decision of an administrative agency. There is an exception in the statute that provides that only the zoning board of appeals and applicants are considered “parties of record,” and individuals who appear before the zoning board of appeals and submit testimony or written evidence need not be named as defendants but only require notification of the lawsuit by the person challenging the decision.

Senate Bill 283 would expand on the zoning board of appeals “exception” to also include actions against agencies that make decisions on historic preservation or architectural review matters, such as historic preservation commissions and architectural review commissions. If passed, this means that members of the public who testify or provide evidence at hearings of these type of administrative agencies would receive notice of the lawsuit challenging the administrative decision but would not need to be named as defendants in the lawsuit. The bill also provides these individuals with the right to intervene in the action if they choose to.