Administrative Adjudication -Scope Of Administrative Law

Administrative Adjudication

Administrative Tribunals

The complexities of modern government and synthetic structure of the present society have given rise to new problems that require new solutions. One significant aspect of the 20th century has been the dispensation of the benefits by the State. Laissez Faire is an outdated economic philosophy. Redistribution is an accepted philosophy of the day. There has been an all round expansion of governmental activities. Planning social services, labour welfare, Health, employment, education and other activities aimed at community welfare form some among the many functions of the state.

In such a situation the chances of disputes between the administration and individual citizens are considerable. Most of these disputes are minor and are based on question of fact which in most cases is of a technical kind. If all such disputes are referred to the ordinary courts, they will be flooded with work and the courts would not be able to cope up with the work.

Apart, in many cases not only the questions of factor law are involved but the policy considerations are included. What is “expedient” or in the ‘public interest’ or “where the preference is to be given” to the conflicting individual interest-all are matters which require a different adjudicative machinery. Realising this need, the governments of the present day have delegated adjudicatory powers to the executive which is known as “administrative adjudication. The executive discharges this function through expert agencies which are known as Administrative Tribunals.

Administrative adjudication has been defined by various authors ways. Some of the more important definitions are:

  1. “Administrative adjudication is the power vested in administrative agencies to make specific determination affecting the rights of the individuals”.
  2. It is “the investigation and setting of a dispute involving a private party on the basis of law and fact by an administrative agency”.
  3. It is “the process by which administrators settle issues arising in the course of their work when legal rights are in question”.
  4. It means “determination by the administrative agencies of issues or cases involving the rights and obligations”.

Features Of Administrative Adjudication

An analysis of all the definitions though none of them may be perfect individually, leads to describing certain features which are necessary for administrative adjudication. They are: must be a dispute between the parties (lis inter parties). The dispute must involve one private party.

  1. The dispute must be investigated and settled by an administrative agency (by persons having administrative experience).
  2. The dispute must be settled on the basis of law and lact and applying the legislative policy. However, administrative courts are not bound by earlier precedents and the administrator can decide each case on its merits.
  3. The dispute must contain/question of individual rights which need settlement.
  4. Occasionally the action may be initiated suo moto by the administrative tribunals.
  5. The tribunals may also have to force duties like observations 01 conditions of license, rather than only determining rights.
  6. The tribunals are not bound by the laws of evidence but they only have to follow “principles of Natural Justice”.
  7. Unlike judicial administration, the decisions by the tribunals can be subjective as the decision-maker has to apply underlying social policy.

Functions Of Administrative Adjudication

Pfiffner and Presthus have analysed the following functions of Administrative adjudication.

  1. To construct a broad social policy and to inform industry and other regulated groups as to the objectives of such a policy.
  2. Discovery and promulgation of the rules and regulations to ensure that the policy is achieved.
  3. Enforcement of such regulations so that the policy is actually achieved. Rules are enforced either in the course of settlement of disputes arising between the public and the interest regulated or buy prosecuting acts violating established policy.
  4. To safeguard private interest against administrative arbitrariness or abuse of power by making available to them easily accessible and in-expensive administrative remedies.

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