Perceptions of Fairness in US State Agency Adjudications: Applying Lind & Tyler's Procedural Justice to Executive-Branch Adjudications
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
Dr. Christopher B. McNeil
Doctoral Candidate, Judicial Studies Program, University of Nevada