A Ballotpedia survey of all 50 state constitutions and administrative procedure acts (APAs) revealed that 36 state APAs limit ex parte communications between hearing officers and the parties involved in adjudication, as of October 2020. No state constitutions restrict contact between agency hearing officials and parties in a case.
Ex parte communications are any form of contact between a party to an adjudication and the official conducting the hearing without the knowledge or consent of the other party to the case. Adjudication proceedings are 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.
Understanding adjudication procedures provides insight into due process procedural rights of citizens at the state level, one of the five pillars key to understanding the main areas of debate about the nature and scope of the administrative state.
To learn more about Ballotpedia’s survey related to procedural rights, see here:
Procedural rights: State that limit ex part communications between hearing officers and the parties involved in adjudication
Want to go further? Learn more about the five pillars of the administrative state here: