Adjudicatory Procedure under Federal APA

Generally, the Federal Administrative Procedure Act applies to federal agencies.  It does not impose the requirement to hold formal, adversary hearings on any agency.  5 U.S.C.S. § 554 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) applies in every case of adjudication required by statute to be determined on the record after opportunity for an agency hearing.  Section 554 prescribes that certain procedures be followed in the adjudications that fall within its scope.[i]

The requirements of due process and fair play inherent in the Constitution may require that an adjudicatory proceeding along the lines prescribed by the Administrative Procedure Act be held, even if the governing regulatory statute does not contain language that there be a “determination on the record after an opportunity for an agency hearing.”  If neither the Constitution nor relevant statutes mandate that a hearing be held, there is no requirement of compliance with the adjudicatory procedures prescribed by the Administrative Procedure Act.[ii]

[i] Aageson Grain & Cattle v. United States Dep’t of Agric., 500 F.3d 1038 (9th Cir. Mont. 2007)

[ii] Gart v. Cole, 263 F.2d 244 (2d Cir. 1959).


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