Delegation of Powers to Private Parties

An administrative agency or its head can delegate its powers and functions to an authorized person of that agency.  This power will be expressly or impliedly vested on that agency by the concerned statute.  This rule of delegation is against the general rule that a person delegated with a power should not further delegate it.  But the general rule is most frequently applied where power is delegated to private parties.  Therefore, when Congress authorizes an agency with a particular authority, that agency cannot delegate it to a private party.[i]  These types of delegations can be considered doubtful if the delegation is made to a private party whose objectivity can be suspected due to conflict of interests.[ii]

Delegation to private parties can be categorized into two:

  • Where the control is with the delegator or the administrative agency and ,
  • Where the control is with the delegate or the private party.

However, in National Park & Conservation Ass’n v. Stanton, 54 F. Supp. 2d 7, 19 (D.D.C. 1999), it was held that delegations by administrative agencies to private parties is valid only if the agency or its head retains the power to finally review that matter.

[i] National Park & Conservation Ass’n v. Stanton, 54 F. Supp. 2d 7, 18 (D.D.C. 1999)

[ii] Torrington Co. v. United States, 16 C.I.T. 51, 56 (Ct. Int’l Trade 1992)


Inside Delegation of Powers to Private Parties