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Rules Governing Adjudicatory Proceedings

Administrative agencies and courts follow different methods of resolving disputes.[i]  The procedure of administrative agencies is not as formal and strict as that of a court.[ii]

Generally, statutes creating administrative agencies confer the power to prescribe rules of practice and procedure, upon the agencies to govern the proceedings before them.  Such of these statutes expressly provide that these official rules need not conform to common law or statutory rules of evidence or procedure, while others provide for certain rules in conjunction with the rules to be administratively prescribed.[iii]  If there is no such provision, an administrative agency has implied power to devise its own procedure in ascertaining the facts upon which it is to act or decide.[iv]

Administrative agencies may adopt any fair and reasonable practice and procedure.  They are given wide discretion in making such procedural rules.[v]  Rules and regulations of an administrative agency, are as binding on the agency as if they were statutes enacted by the legislature.[vi]  All powers of an administrative agency must be exercised in accordance with the statute or other law conferring such power.  An agency’s jurisdiction or authority to act depends upon compliance with the statute vesting power in the agency.[vii]  These general principles apply in relation to procedural provisions laid down in the statutes governing the agency, if the provisions are mandatory and involve matters of substance.[viii]

[i] White v. Indiana Parole Bd., 266 F.3d 759 (7th Cir. 2001).

[ii] Dairy Employees Independent Union v. Wisconsin Employment Relations Board, 262 Wis. 280 (Wis. 1952)

[iii] Railroad Com. v. Herrin Transp. Co., 262 S.W.2d 426 (Tex. Civ. App. 1953)

[iv] Federal Communications Commission v. Pottsville Broadcasting Co., 309 U.S. 134, 60 S. Ct. 437, 84 L. Ed. 656 (1940);

[v] Wallace Corp. v. NLRB, 323 U.S. 248 (U.S. 1944)

[vi]State ex rel. Independent School Dist. v. Johnson, 242 Minn. 539 (Minn. 1954)

[vii] Kovack v. Licensing Bd. of City of Waterville, 157 Me. 411, 173 A.2d 554 (1961).

[viii]Crozier v. County Comm’rs of Prince George’s County, 202 Md. 501 (Md. 1953)

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