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Notice of Proceedings

While instituting administrative proceedings, principles of due process must be adhered to.  Accordingly, in an administrative  action which affects a liberty or property interest, reasonable notice has to be provided to the party.  Failure to comply with due process will amount to a jurisdictional defect.  In case an order requires statutry notice, its non-compliance would result in invalidating and setting aside of that rule.  Generally, the requirement for notice in an administrative agency action is determined on the basis of the character of the action, and not by its label.  By virtue of the Federal and Model State Administrative Procedure Acts, proper notice has to be affected to persons entitled to notice of an agency hearing.

The right to notice and an opportunity to be heard by an administrative agency, even if a contested case under the administrative procedure act is not involved is guaranteed by the constitutions of certain states.

In Grimes v. Conservation Comm’n, 243 Conn. 266 (Conn. 1997), the court stated the distinction between the issues of proper notice and ex parte receipt of evidence.  According to the court, improper notice is a jurisdictional defect rendering an administrative decision void, and receipt of ex parte evidence merely shifts the burden of proof from the aggrieved party to the applicant to demonstrate that the communication was harmless.

The case Hartland Sportsman’s Club v. Town of Delafield, 35 F.3d 1198 (7th Cir. Wis. 1994) was over a claim brought by plaintiff club against defendants, a town and associated others, that the imposition of restrictions on the operation of plaintiff’s facility violated its procedural and substantive due process rights guaranteed by U.S. Const. amend. XIV.  The district court entered judgment for defendants, upon which appeal was filed by plaintiff.  While affirming the district court’s judgment, the appellate court stated that“notice of a proceeding must be reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections. The notice must give the affected person or entity sufficient information to permit adequate preparation for an impending hearing.”

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