The Doctrine of Stare Decisis in Administrative Law


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Stare decisis relies upon precedent in cases, and this applies to administrative law where one matter for an individual or agency with the matter having been handled previously. This means that the appeal, original decision or other situation that goes to court or through the board has occurred before and may provide assistance in any current investigation or claim.

Administrative law applies to programs, agencies and employees that are directly affected by decisions from government departments, companies and organizations. Many of these matters concern action taken based on decisions that the board or counsel has determined to be in the best interests of the agency or business. This could mean that certain programs are terminated, given extra funding, denial of benefits to an employee, firing someone or even revoking or suspending a professional license. For a case or an appeal that arises with these administrative concerns, stare decisis uses past precedent applied to the matter to understand how to move forward.

Many claims that go to a counsel may not be bound by the past precedent because of the facts given and policies used to determine a decision. However, when the tribunal members or board meet, they have little to no legal experience, training or education. This means that it is best to rely upon stare decisis to understand certain matters. Precedent has been recorded so that future decisions and judgment are based on something that has come before in legal matters. For the administrative law, this is important for appeals and the final judgment. That means the basis for the end result comes from years of experience and knowledge.

The Reliance on Precedent

Many state and federal cases rely on precedent to know what to do, how to penalize individuals and how to process the crimes. This means that one case may be handled similarly to another that has already occurred in the past with similar factors. If someone has been denied wages from a company, the matter may eventually get to the courtroom. Then, the judge presiding may make a determination based on employment and wage laws, previously handled claims and administrative regulations. With this information, it is easier and faster to deliberate on the matter. Without previous cases to draw from, these claims may take longer and cost the employee more in time and expense.

Precedent is also important for various civil rights, discrimination, harassment, other administrative matters and laws regarding a multitude of crimes. Working alongside programs and organizations, it may be possible to apply a penalty to a company or individual based on what has been decided by another judge in a case worked years before. These matters go through stare decisis so that those involved may be able to obtain reasonable and fair justice, compensation or a remedy. The precedent may then be applied to future similar cases and claims with factors that are relevant to the current situations.

Consistent Decisions

Administrative matters are complicated, and this means there is a great need for consistent decisions and judgments. Many rulings are not necessarily bound by prior rulings, but stare decisis assist with keeping penalties, punishments and appeals in line with previous cases. Some claims require the need to depart from judgment and stipulations that came from other matters decided long ago. However, with a basis in these concerns, it may be quicker to arrive at a deliberation or to know when it is important to deviate from these. It is vital to interpret certain cases and matters so that they may be better understood, and this is often possible with precedent.

Many administrative decisions are made through interpretation of rules, laws and stipulations. This means that the change to an alternate viewing of the issue could be necessary than taking the traditional rules and applying them to the situation. In many cases, this is not possible due to the specific factors of the matter. Administrative tribunals often decide the concern based on prior decision making needs, even if they only have a slight relevance to the particular case. However, even if it is only a basis to come to a conclusion, it may assist in resolving the issue for all involved.

The Administrative Lawyer Needed

Both administrative lawyers and panels are needed to resolve these matters. With legal representation, it may be possible to understand the elements of the case for the client, and the lawyer may ensure more information is clear. This may then provide a greater chance of success.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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