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What Judicial Review Embraces

When an administrative action is challenged in a court of law, all questions that arise in deciding the matter will come under the purview of judicial review.  According to 5 USCS § 704, there are two types of administrative actions that can be judicially reviewed:

  • Administrative actions which are made reviewable by the statute, and
  • Administrative actions for which there is no other adequate remedy in a court

Also under 5 USCS § 704, when a final agency action is being reviewed, courts can also review a preliminary, procedural, or intermediate agency action or ruling which is not otherwise directly reviewable.  Judicial review is conducted based on various provisions listed in the constitution, relevant statutes, and general right of the court to invoke the power to review.[i]

When an administrative action is subject to judicial review, the extent of the judicial review allowed should be double checked.  When an agency has decided that a case is within its limits, judicial review should be limited to the extent to which the agency has exceeded its conferred authority.[ii]

A request for relief will not be denied even if it is sought against the U.S. government[iii] When the relief sought is other than monetary damages sovereign immunity is waived under 5 USCS § 702.[iv] Also in Kanemoto v. Reno, 41 F.3d 641 (Fed. Cir. 1994),it was observed that, if the relief sought by an aggrieved party is for relief other than money damages, relief will not be denied.  However, all requests for monetary relief are not necessarily considered requests for money damages under 5 USCS § 702.[v]

When an administrative action is inadequate, procedurally or substantively, the responsibility for a thorough review is entrusted to the court handling the matter.  In doing this review a court is responsible for providing relief to the effected party and to further the public interest.[vi]   It is also the duty of the court to reconcile democratic safeguards and standards of fair play with the effective conduct of government.  Thus, it can be seen that a balance is to be brought out through the court’s intervention in administrative matters.  Usually questions of fact, policy or discretion are decided by the administrative agency and the court decides questions of law and its validity.[vii]

[i] Bowen v. Massachusetts, 487 U.S. 879 (U.S. 1988)

[ii] Shields v. Utah I. C. R. Co., 305 U.S. 177 (U.S.1938).

[iii] Kanemoto v. Reno, 41 F.3d 641 (Fed. Cir. 1994)

[iv] Lulac E. Park Place Trust v. United States HUD, 32 F. Supp. 2d 418 (W.D. Tex. 1998)

[v] Bowen v. Massachusetts, 487 U.S. 879, 101 L. Ed. 2d 749, 108 S. Ct. 2722 (1988)

[vi]Hess & Clark, Div. of Rhodia, Inc. v. Food & Drug Admin., 495 F.2d 975, 990 (D.C. Cir. 1974)

[vii] Bowen v. Massachusetts, 487 U.S. 879 (U.S. 1988)

Inside What Judicial Review Embraces