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06/07/88 Raymond Barbosa, v. Committee On Accountancy

June 7, 1988

RAYMOND BARBOSA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

COMMITTEE ON ACCOUNTANCY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION

525 N.E.2d 980, 171 Ill. App. 3d 782, 121 Ill. Dec. 673 1988.IL.884

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas J. O'Brien, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE BILANDIC delivered the opinion of the court. STAMOS* and SCARIANO, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE BILANDIC

Plaintiff brought this action for declaratory judgment to compel the Committee on Accountancy of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Committee on Accountancy or Committee) to grant him a certificate as a certified public accountant under the laws of the State of Illinois. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff's motion was denied; the defendants' motion was granted. Plaintiff appeals.

Plaintiff took the New York CPA examination while he was a resident of that State. He could not take all four portions of the examination at the time he initially sat for it because he did not have the experience required in New York to take the auditing portion of the examination. Over a year later, New York changed its requirements to allow an individual to take the fourth part of the examination without the auditing experience, but continued to require the auditing experience before it would grant a certificate. Plaintiff immediately took and passed the fourth portion of the examination but never obtained the additional three months of auditing experience needed for certification in New York. Despite his failure to comply with that portion of the New York requirements for certification, plaintiff applied for a certificate in New York in 1979. His application was denied.

Plaintiff moved to Illinois. In October 1980, he applied to the Committee on Accountancy for an Illinois CPA certificate. In order to qualify, he requested the Committee to accept the transfer of his New York examination credits. Committee Rule 16(d) allows a person to transfer examination credits only if "he would be entitled to an Illinois certificate if he had written the examination in Illinois." 5 Ill. Reg. 8310 (1981).

The Committee on Accountancy has interpreted Rule 16(d) to require a person applying for a transfer of out-of-State credits to initially sit for all four sections of the examination at the same time. Illinois requires that its own residents initially sit for all four sections. Because plaintiff sat for only three of the four sections when he first attempted the examination in New York in 1976, the Committee denied his application. I

Plaintiff insists that even though he was denied a New York certificate, he must be issued an Illinois certificate based on a transfer of credits of his New York examination. The Illinois Public Accounting Act (Act) governs the issuance of a certificate as a CPA. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111, par. 5500 et seq.) It provides "that a public authority competent to prescribe and assess the qualifications of public accountants be established." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111, par. 5500.02(b).) The University of Illinois was designated as that authority. "The University shall . . . appoint 5 examiners" to conduct examinations "at least twice a year." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111, par. 5502.) The examiners are referred to as the "Committee on Accountancy." The Act enumerates the minimum qualifications of applicants. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111, par. 5504.) "The University shall adopt all necessary and reasonable rules and regulations for the effective administration . . . of this Act . . .. Without limiting the foregoing, the University shall adopt and prescribe rules and regulations . . . for the transfer of credits from other jurisdictions with respect to subjects passed." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111, par. 5502.) "It is the policy of this State and the purpose of this Act: . . . (b) To protect the public interest by requiring that persons engaged in the practice of public accounting be qualified . . .." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111, par. 5500.02(b).

Rule 16(d), which is at issue in this case, was adopted by the board of trustees of the University of Illinois and provides as follows:

"(d) Transfer of Credits by Candidate Who Has Passed the Examination in Another State

A person who has passed the entire examination in another state but who, because of his non-residency in that state, is ineligible to obtain his certificate from such other state may transfer his credits ...


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