Ballotpedia study shows that 29 state APAs require administrative agencies to accept oral evidence during adjudicative hearings

A Ballotpedia study of all 50 state constitutions and administrative procedure acts (APAs) showed that 29 state APAs require administrative agencies to accept oral evidence during adjudicative hearings, as of August 2020. Administrative agencies in those states hear oral testimony during hearings like a state court.

Adjudication proceedings include agency determinations outside of the rulemaking process that aim to resolve disputes between either agencies and private parties or between two private parties. The adjudication process results in the issuance of an adjudicative order, which serves to settle the dispute and, in some cases, may set agency policy.

Because state administrative agencies are not part of the judicial branch of government, adjudication proceedings before them do not necessarily afford the same procedural protections as in a courtroom trial. While oral testimony is customary in a courtroom, agencies may not always have to accept oral evidence during adjudication.

Twenty-nine states require agencies to accept oral testimony during hearings. Ballotpedia concluded, therefore, that those states require acceptance of oral evidence.

When states listed exceptions to a general rule that agencies should accept oral testimony during hearings, Ballotpedia concluded, therefore, that they sometimes require acceptance of oral evidence. Seven states have provisions like this.

When states allowed administrative agencies to accept either written or oral evidence during hearings, or left whether to accept oral testimony to the discretion of the hearing officer, Ballotpedia concluded, therefore, that they do not require agencies to accept oral evidence. Fourteen states have provisions like this.

To learn more about Ballotpedia’s survey related to procedural rights, see here:

Procedural rights: States that require administrative agencies to accept oral evidence during adjudicative hearings

Want to go further? Learn more about the five pillars of the administrative state here: Administrative state

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About the author

Jace Lington

Jace Lington is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

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