Perceptions of Fairness in US State Agency Adjudications: Applying Lind & Tyler's Procedural Justice to Executive-Branch Adjudications

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Under the U.S. Constitution, before the government may adversely affect liberty or property interests, the interest-holder is entitled to an administrative hearing or a trial. When fact-finding is transferred from the judicial branch by the legislative branch and is given to the executive branch, the result - an administrative hearing - tends to create the impression that the fact-finder (typically an administrative law judge) will be biased in favor of the executive branch, because the judge is not independent, and is part of the executive agency that brought the charges. Applying principles of "procedural justice" articulated by Lind & Tyler in the 1980s, this paper examines perceptions of fairness in ALJ adjudications. This is a doctoral dissertation, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The paper will report on the results of a national survey of litigants, defense lawyers, and ALJs, probing whether these stakeholders believe the hearings they participated in were fair.


Keywords: administrative law, procedural justice, Lind & Tyler, executive-branch adjudication, fairness, fact-finding
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Perceptions of Fairness in US State Agency Adjudications


Dr. Christopher B. McNeil

Doctoral Candidate, Judicial Studies Program, University of Nevada
Worthington, OH, USA

Chris McNeil (BGS ’78; JD ’81, Univ. of Kansas) teaches administrative law and legal reasoning, research, and writing, at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. He holds a Master’s degree in Judicial Studies (2004), and is a doctoral candidate in Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada – Reno. This research is part of his doctoral dissertation. He has written extensively on due process in agency proceedings, most recently in “Shifts in Policy and Power: Calculating the Consequences of Increased Prosecutorial Power and Reduced Judicial Authority in Post 9/11 America,” 15 Widener Law Journal 109 (2005), and “The Marginal Utility of Consolidated Agency Hearings in Ohio: A Due Process Analysis from an Economic Perspective, 32 Ohio Northern University Law Review 127 (2006). He is a former Chair of the Administrative Law Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association, a former member of the Board of Governors of the National Association of Administrative Law Judges, and a current member of the faculty of the National Judicial College, in Reno, Nevada.

Ref: I08P0163