Aggregate Agency Adjudication, the new report of Administrative Conference of United States

ACUS_Report_AggregateAgencyAdjudication

The new report of Administrative Conference of United States on Aggregate Agency Adjudication was prepared for the consideration of the Administrative Conference of the United States and it reflects opinions, views and recommendation of the authors who had already addressed the topic under examination in a previous publication on agencies’ efforts to aggregate administrative proceedings.

The document starts from the consideration that “Federal agencies in the United States adjudicate hundreds of thousands of cases each year”, in spite of this “agencies have not widely deployed tools used in federal court to efficiently resolve large groups of claims, such as class actions and other complex litigation procedures”.

Although there are some recent efforts by agencies to aggregate administrative proceedings, these efforts to employ the tools of aggregation in administrative proceedings have received little examination. Therefore, very little is known about it and precisely:

  1. how agencies choose cases or claims appropriate for aggregation;
  2. which aggregation tools these agencies use;
  3. how often they used different types of tools;
  4. the successes and failures of these tools;
  5. the other types of proceedings in which different aggregation tools might facilitate more expeditious, consistent, and fair handling of large groups of claims.

Based on these questions, the report focuses on a few issues including:

  • the costs and benefits of aggregate adjudication in Court;
  • the legal framework for aggregation in agency adjudications;
  • the identification of aggregation mechanisms most useful for agencies;
  • the development of information infrastructure to identify and track cases with common issues of fact or law;
  • the identification of obstacles, challenges, and concerns to improve the efficiency, the legitimacy, and the accuracy in aggregate agency adjudication.

(Giulia Dimitrio)