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Administrative Adjudications and Developing a Record For the Appeal

Hugh V. Schaefer, Natural Resources and Environmental Administrative Law and Procedure (1999)

Before discussing how to develop an effective record in an administrative appeal within the Department of Interior, it is helpful to understand how administrative appeal cases are handled and what type of evidence is admissible in these types of proceedings. Virtually all adjudications within the department are on the record because the department, is an executive rather than independent agency. Accordingly it must adjudicate and conduct rulemaking on a informal rather than formal basis. This means that there is no “trial” type of hearing where witnesses appear and give sworn testimony which is subject to cross-examination by an opposing party. On the other hand formal proceedings before an independent agency such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are conducted in an open trial type hearing before an administrative law judge.

In an informal proceeding, the appellant and the agency submit documents into the record for consideration by the reviewing officer or Interior Board of Land Appeals without the presentation of “live” testimony. The appellant submits a Statement of Reasons which contains arguments for reversal or modification of the initial order. The submitted factual documents constitute the record and the evidence of the case.