(a) An appeal from the commissioner shall be taken only from an order on hearing, or as to a matter on which the commissioner has refused or failed to hold a hearing after demand therefor under Section 27-2-28 or as to a matter as to which the commissioner has refused or failed to make his order on hearing as required by Section 27-2-31. Any person who was a party to such hearing or whose pecuniary interests are directly and immediately affected by any such refusal or failure to grant or hold a hearing and who is aggrieved by such order, refusal, or failure may appeal from such order or as to any such matter within 30 days after:
(1) The order on hearing has been mailed or delivered to the persons entitled to receive the same;
(2) The commissioner's order denying rehearing or reargument has been so mailed or delivered;
(3) The commissioner has refused or failed to make his order on hearing as required under Section 27-2-31; or
(4) The commissioner has refused or failed to grant or hold a hearing as required under Section 27-2-28.
(b) The appeal shall be granted as a matter of right, and shall be taken to the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Alabama, or in the case of denial, suspension or revocation of a license as agent, broker, solicitor, adjuster, and other licensed insurance representatives, the appeal may at the appellant's option be taken to the circuit court of the county in Alabama of the appellant's residence or principal place of business. The appeal shall be taken by filing notice of appeal or on writ of certiorari by filing petition therefor with the register or clerk of the court, together with a bond, with good and sufficient sureties to be approved by such register or clerk, conditioned to pay all costs which may be assessed against the appellant or petitioner in such proceedings and by service upon or delivery to the commissioner of a copy of such notice or petition.
(c) Upon receiving the notice of appeal or petition for review, the commissioner shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, an official record certified by him which shall contain a copy of all proceedings, findings, and orders of the commissioner and any transcript of testimony and exhibits or record thereof made as provided in subsection (f) of Section 27-2-30. Within 30 days after the notice of appeal or petition was filed, the commissioner shall file such official record with the court in which the appeal is pending.
(d) Upon filing of the notice of appeal or petition for review, the court shall have full jurisdiction of the proceeding and shall determine, and may so determine ex parte, whether such filing shall stay the enforcement of the commissioner's decision or order appealed from.
(e) In hearing the appeal by the circuit court and by the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama on appeal to it as provided in subsection (g) of this section, the commissioner's decision or order shall be taken as prima facie just and reasonable. No new or additional evidence may be introduced in the circuit court except as to fraud or misconduct of some person engaged in the administration of this title and affecting the decision or order appealed from, but the court shall otherwise hear the case upon the certified record. The court shall reverse, vacate, or modify the commissioner's decision or order in whole or in part if it finds that:
(1) The commissioner erred to the prejudice of appellant's substantial rights in his application of the law;
(2) The decision or order was procured by fraud or was based upon a finding of facts contrary to the weight of the evidence; or
(3) The commissioner's action was arbitrary or capricious.
(f) Instead of reversing, vacating, or setting aside the commissioner's decision or order or part thereof, the court may remand the case to the commissioner for further proceedings in accordance with the court's directions, or, in advance of judgment and upon a sufficient showing, the court may remand the case to the commissioner for the purpose of taking additional testimony or other proceedings.
(g) From the judgment of the circuit court, either the commissioner or the interested party taking the appeal may appeal directly to the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama by taking such appeal within 42 days after the date of the making and entering of its judgment by the circuit court. The interested party so appealing to the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama shall give security for the costs of such appeal to be approved by the register or clerk of the circuit court. No such security shall be required of the commissioner.