For many years there has been the debate on what constitutes informality and formality in administrative law. Administrative law is the body of law that governs the activities of administrative agencies of government, which include rulemaking, adjudication, or the enforcement of a specific regulatory agenda (Harrington, 2009). Rulemaking and adjudication apply for both formal and informal hearings. Whenever the authorizing statute calls for a hearing on the record this would be a formal hearing, and informal hearings are completed with no record and no adherence to evidentiary rules, and final decisions are made by the agency (Harrington, 2009). This paper will briefly discuss the continuum of legal formality’s advantages and disadvantages through administrative law.
Administrative law is designed to control and correct administrative government and focuses on the procedural problems of fairness and accuracy in governmental decision making (Harrington, 2009). To ensure fairness in administrative proceedings within Federal Government agencies the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act (APA) was created (Harrington, 2009). The APA also sets up a process for the United States federal courts to directly review agency decisions. The APA has four distinct areas of administration it governs: (1) adjudication, the process for hearing and deciding controversies; (2) rulemaking, the procedures for developing and amending regulatory rules; (3) discretion of administrative agencies, defined in the statute that creates an agency and reviewing courts must defer to the statute; and (4) judicial review, establishes the standards that courts must apply when reviewing agency actions (Harrington, 2009).
Administrative law governs the government, and the Administrative Law Judges have the authority to conduct constitutional due process hearings under the process provided by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) prepare for, and preside at formal proceedings required by statute to be held in accordance with provisions of the APA in sections 553 through 559 of title 5, United States Code (Harrington, 2009). Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) can serve as settlement judges and can conduct settlement negotiations, mediation, facilitation, and arbitration, as well as evaluate and certify settlements, and ALJs have the responsibility to maintaining, enforcing, and observing high standards of conduct, so that the integrity and independence of the administrative judiciary may be preserved (Harrington, 2009).
The APA subdivides the categories of rule making and adjudication into formal and...