Presumptions and Burden of Proof on Review

Official acts are presumed to be done properly and legally.  However, the presumption raised in favor of an official act is rebuttable.  Accordingly, the burden is upon the party who challenges the administrative decision to bring enough evidence to show that the decision is invalid.  The party must prove clearly and satisfactorily that the administrative action is unjust, unreasonable, unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion.  In all trials, actions and proceedings, the burden of proof is upon the party seeking to vacate or set aside any determination or order to show by clear and satisfactory evidence that it is unreasonable or unlawful.[i] Moreover, all administrative actions are presumed to be legal and valid.  The party challenging an administrative action carries with him/her the heavy burden of making a convincing showing that the administrative action is invalid as it is unjust and unreasonable in its consequences.[ii] It is also presumed that all administrative actions are done in accordance with statutory provisions.

Additionally, administrative actions are presumed to true and right although it involves a finding of fact and is an exercise of discretion by the agency.  Presumption even extends to the determination of question of law.  Agency action is presumed valid, reasonable and correct.  Also agency action is presumed to be taken in knowledge of material facts, justified by the facts.  Additionally it is presumed to be made upon full hearing or after giving all interested parties a reasonable opportunity to be heard, and upon appropriate evidence duly considered and properly applied.[iii] Moreover, agency’s expertise and experience usually strengthens the presumption taken in its favor.  One who alleges unreasonable discrimination in agency action must carry with him the burden of proving the action unreasonable.

However, the interpretation of applicable regulations is not included within the burden of proof of the parties.  Such interpretation is a matter of law and it is to be decided by the court [iv]

[i]Tucson Elec. Power Co. v. Arizona Corp. Comm’n, 132 Ariz. 240 (Ariz. 1982)

[ii]Bowles v. Indianapolis Railways, Inc., 64 F. Supp. 865 (D. Ind. 1946)

[iii]Archdiocese of Portland v. County of Washington, 254 Ore. 77 (Or. 1969)

[iv]Standard Oil Co. v. Department of Energy, 596 F.2d 1029 (Temp. Emer. Ct. App. 1978)


Inside Presumptions and Burden of Proof on Review