Meaning of “Agency” under Federal Administrative Procedure Act

The term “agency” means each authority of the government of the U.S.  It is immaterial whether the agency is subjected to review by another agency or whether the congress affirms it as an agency.

To determine if an action of an agency is final, the court has look into things such as whether its impact is sufficiently direct and immediate and whether it has a direct effect on daily business.  However, an agency action is not final if it is only the ruling of a subordinate official, or tentative.  The core question is whether the agency has completed its decision making process, and whether the result of that process is one that will directly affect the parties[i].

Pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a court can set aside any agency action found to be arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or contrary to applicable legal or procedural requirement.  However, such review is only available to the extent that statutes do not preclude judicial review and the agency action is not committed to agency discretion by law.

In Cohen v. Rice, 992 F.2d 376 (1st Cir. Me. 1993), it was observed that the actions of the President are not subject to APA review because the President is not an “agency” within the APA.  An agency action is not final if it is only the ruling of a subordinate official or tentative.  The core question is whether the agency has completed its decision-making process, and whether the result of that process is one that will directly affect the parties[ii].

[i] Cohen v. Rice, 992 F.2d 376 (1st Cir. Me. 1993)

[ii] Id


Inside Meaning of “Agency” under Federal Administrative Procedure Act