Federal Administrative Adjudication

The Administrative Conference is undertaking a project to map the contours of the federal administrative adjudicatory process, including both “formal” adjudication conducted under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and “informal” adjudication. Most studies of federal agency adjudication—by the Conference or others—took place years ago or assessed only limited aspects of the adjudication process. There is no single, up-to-date resource that paints a comprehensive picture of agency adjudications across the federal government. The current study aims to fill this gap.

This project will among other things:

  • explore the wide variety of agency adjudicatory schemes across the federal government and their related rules of practice and case management techniques;
  • catalog and compare the types of matters handled by formal and informal adjudication respectively;
  • describe the federal administrative judiciary, including administrative law judges and other types of hearing and appellate officers; and
  • collect and analyze agency caseload statistics and other empirical data.

As such, this study will not only update and deepen prior studies on administrative adjudication conducted by the Conference, but also highlight adjudicatory trends and developments (such as the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques and video hearings). Best practices and/or other recommendations will be drawn from project-related research and data. Additionally, it is expected that the project will yield a published report, which will serve as a unique resource for members of Congress and their staffs, federal agency and judicial officials, Conference members, and the general public.