Collective Adjudication and Administrative Justice
Oxford Handbook of Administrative Justice, Forthcoming
Posted: 25 Nov 2019 Last revised: 4 Aug 2020
Date Written: November 18, 2019
This is a book chapter for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Administrative Justice. It considers how administrative agencies in different countries use aggregate procedures to hear common claims brought by large groups of people. In many countries, administrative agencies promise each individual a “day in court” to appear before a neutral decision-maker and receive a reasoned decision based on the factual record they develop. A handful of administrative hearing programs in the United States and other countries, however, have quietly bucked this trend—using class actions, statistical sampling, agency restitution, public inquiries, “test case” proceedings, and other forms of mass adjudication to resolve disputes involving large groups of people.
This chapter will examine how administrative agencies can more effectively resolve common disputes with aggregate procedures. Aggregate procedures offer administrative agencies several benefits, including:
(1) efficiently creating ways to pool information about recurring problems and enjoin systemic harms;
(2) achieving greater equality in outcomes than individual adjudication; and
(3) securing legal and expert assistance at critical stages in the process.
By charting how administrative systems in different countries aggregate cases, we hope to show that collective hearing procedures can form an integral part of public regulation, enforcement, and the adjudicatory process itself.
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