What is the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS)?

The Administrative Conference of the United States is an independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process through consensus-driven applied research, providing nonpartisan expert advice and recommendations for improvement of federal agency procedures. Its membership is composed of innovative federal officials and experts with diverse views and backgrounds from both the private sector and academia.

The Administrative Conference is committed to promoting improved government procedures including fair and effective dispute resolution and wide public participation and efficiency in the rulemaking process by leveraging interactive technologies and encouraging open communication with the public.  In addition the Administrative Conference’s mandate includes fostering improvements to the regulatory process by reducing unnecessary litigation, and improving the use of science and the effectiveness of applicable laws. Learn more about the Administrative Conference at www.acus.gov.

What is the purpose of this study?

The purpose of the study is described on the website's home page; click the ACUS seal in the upper left-hand corner of the website to return to the home page.

What is an "adjudication"?

For purposes of this study, we defined "adjudication" as:

  •        a decision by one or more federal officials made through an administrative process
  •        to resolve a claim or dispute arising out of a federal program
  •        between a private party and the government or two or more private parties
  •        based on a hearing - either oral or written - in which one or more parties have an opportunity to introduce evidence or make arguments

What is the difference between a "major" adjudication and a "minor" adjudication?

Major and minor adjudication are defined based on the office that conducts the adjudication. If an office conducts an adjudication, and its primary function is to conduct adjudications, then the adjudication is considered "major." If the office that conducts the adjudication has many functions, and adjudications are only a small portion of that office's responsibilities, then the adjudication is considered "minor."

What are "Type A" and "Type B" Adjudications?

“Type A” adjudication is described by and conducted pursuant to the provisions in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (often called “formal” adjudication).

“Type B” adjudication arises out of federal statutes or regulations that require the agency to conduct an evidentiary proceeding, but do not trigger the APA (often called “informal” adjudication).

What is a "Case Type"?

A "case type" is a set of adjudications that occur under one statute or regulation, have the same hearing procedures and the type(s) of relief, and are adjudicated by the same office (or offices).

What is a "Scheme"?

A "scheme" consists of one or more case types that are adjudicated by one office and that have similar sets of procedures. Even if the case types are authorized under different statutes or regulations, if their hearing and appeals procedures are substantially similar they may be classified under the same scheme. However, if two case types are handled by the same office, but their procedures are very different, then they are classified as different schemes.

What is a "Scheme Code," and how were they generated?

Scheme codes were generated by Administrative Conference staff, and may be used to quickly identify a scheme. They consist of eight letters - the first four letters refer to the agency, and the second four letters refer to the adjudication office or subject of the adjudications. The four numbers count up (starting at 0001), and are reset for each agency.

How was information collected for use in this database, and how were agencies and schemes selected for inclusion?

The database was intended to be as inclusive as possible; the Administrative Conference attempted to identify all adjudications conducted by every administrative agency within the federal government. Attorneys, law clerks, and interns at the Administrative Conference searched agency websites, the Code of Federal Regulations, and in other available resources for terms including "adjudication," "hearing," "appeal," "administrative judge," "administrative law judge," and "adjudication officer," with the goal of identifying as many schemes and case types as possible. If an adjudication was mentioned in passing in a statute or regulation but no additional information could be found on the adjudication, then it was not included in the study. However, if some information on hearing procedures could be found, then the adjudication type was included.

What does "Verified by Agency" mean?

Information on each scheme was collected by Administrative Conference staff, and compiled into several forms. For "major" schemes, as well as some "minor" schemes, forms were sent to agency representatives for review and correction. If a representative from the appropriate agency reviewed the information and returned it to the Administrative Conference, then the information was marked as "Verified by Agency" in the database.

Note: If an agency returned at least one form within a particular scheme, the entire scheme was marked "Verified." In most cases, agencies returned all forms within a given scheme, but there are exceptions. To see whether a particular form has been verified, scroll to the bottom of the page, and look for the "Verified by Agency" heading.  

What do I do if I found an error?

If you receive an error message as you are using the website, please let us know what you were doing when you received the error and we will do our best to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Please also let us know if you find an error in content. Although we reached out to as many agencies as possible, many schemes have not been verified by agency representatives, and agency practices and procedures can change over time. If you have expertise with a scheme and notice that it has not been verified by your agency, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be glad to work with you to update the scheme as needed and mark it as “verified.”

Please contact either Amber Williams at awilliams@acus.gov or Connie Vogelmann at cvogelmann@acus.gov.

What should I do if I want more information?

If you have questions or comments, please contact either Amber Williams at awilliams@acus.gov or Connie Vogelmann at cvogelmann@acus.gov.