Type of Agency Action as Affecting Scope of Review


In a democracy, courts can examine the actions of executive, legislature, and administrative branches of government to confirm that those actions are in accordance with the provisions of constitution of the nation.  If the actions are not in conformity with the constitution, they can be declared null and void.

Administrative functions are classified as judicial, quasi – judicial, adjudicatory, legislative, executive, and administrative.  These classifications affect the scope and extent of judicial review and mode of review.[i]

When an administrative action is classified as judicial, courts can, with or without express authorization, review an administrative agency action.[ii] The scope of judicial review of delegated legislative or quasi-legislative power of administrative agencies is different and more limited than where the action is quasi-judicial.  This is because the reviewing court has no inherent suitability comparable to what it has for reviewing judicial decisions.[iii]

Administrative agencies’ orders are subject to judicial review according to the statutes created by the legislature.  The Legislature allows judicial review of administrative orders to ensure that the agencies remain within the bounds of the laws created by legislatures.[iv]

Administrative agencies are provided with broad discretion whether or not to create rules.  The decision of an agency not to create a rule is a legislative decision.  In such cases, the court reviewing the decision is only bound to assure itself that the agency did not create rules only to reduce the dangers or irrationality and arbitrariness.

[i] Broward County v. Administration Com., 321 So. 2d 605 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 1975)

[ii] United States v. Morgan, 313 U.S. 409 (U.S. 1941)

[iii] Magnolia Petroleum Co. v. Federal Power Com., 236 F.2d 785 (5th Cir. 1956)

[iv] State v. Mountain States Tel. & Tel. Co., 54 N.M. 315 (N.M. 1950)