The Need for Devolution of Adjudicatory Authority on Administration

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The Need for Devolution of Adjudicatory Authority on Administration

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In the realm of administrative law, the devolution of adjudicatory authority on the administration holds significant importance. This article explores the rationale behind granting administrative bodies the power to adjudicate disputes and make decisions. By examining the benefits and challenges associated with devolution, we gain insights into how this practice enhances efficiency, accessibility, and expertise in the administrative justice system.

Understanding Adjudicatory Authority

Definition of Adjudicatory Authority

Adjudicatory authority refers to the power vested in a body or institution to settle legal disputes and make binding decisions. Traditionally, this authority has rested primarily within the judicial branch of government. However, the concept of devolving adjudicatory functions to administrative bodies has gained traction in recent years.

Role of Administrative Bodies

Administrative bodies are uniquely positioned to handle specialized matters that fall within their purview. By delegating adjudicatory authority, these bodies can efficiently resolve disputes, interpret regulations, and apply the law in specific domains such as labor relations, taxation, immigration, and professional licensing. This delegation streamlines the decision-making process and ensures timely resolution of administrative disputes.

Benefits of Devolution

Expertise and Specialization

Administrative bodies often possess specialized knowledge and expertise in the areas they regulate. By entrusting them with adjudicatory authority, the legal system can benefit from their in-depth understanding of industry-specific complexities. This expertise allows administrative bodies to make informed decisions that align with the nuances of the sector, leading to more accurate and contextually appropriate outcomes.

Efficiency and Timeliness

Centralizing all adjudicatory functions within the judiciary can lead to potential backlogs and delays in the resolution of administrative disputes. Devolving adjudicatory authority to administrative bodies can alleviate this burden, as these bodies can focus solely on handling cases specific to their respective areas. This streamlines the process, reducing procedural complexities and ensuring more timely and efficient resolution of disputes.

Accessibility and Procedural Flexibility

Administrative bodies are often more accessible to the public compared to traditional courts. They are equipped to handle a higher volume of cases and provide more streamlined procedures. Devolution of adjudicatory authority ensures that individuals and businesses can seek redress within a framework that is tailored to their specific needs. This accessibility promotes access to justice and enhances public confidence in the administrative justice system.

Challenges and Safeguards

Independence and Impartiality

One of the primary concerns associated with devolution is ensuring the independence and impartiality of administrative bodies. To safeguard against bias or undue influence, it is essential to establish clear mechanisms that guarantee the autonomy and neutrality of these bodies. Adequate safeguards, such as transparent appointment processes, clear decision-making guidelines, and robust oversight mechanisms, are crucial to maintain public trust and confidence.

Appropriate Standards of Review

Determining the appropriate standard of review for administrative decisions is another challenge. Balancing the need for deference to administrative expertise with the requirement for substantive review is a delicate task. Courts play a vital role in ensuring that administrative decisions are lawful, reasonable, and in compliance with fundamental rights. Striking the right balance between deference and accountability is essential for an effective adjudicatory system.

Training and Resources

Devolution of adjudicatory authority necessitates equipping administrative bodies with the necessary training and resources to handle their expanded responsibilities. Comprehensive training programs, ongoing professional development, and access to relevant legal resources are crucial to ensuring that administrative decision-makers possess the skills and knowledge required to render fair and informed decisions.


The devolution of adjudicatory authority on administration brings numerous advantages to the administrative justice system. It harnesses the expertise of administrative bodies, promotes efficiency and accessibility, and streamlines the resolution of disputes. However, careful attention must be given to maintaining the independence and impartiality of these bodies, establishing appropriate standards of review, and providing adequate training and resources. By striking the right balance, the devolution of adjudicatory authority can strengthen the administrative justice system, ensuring fair and effective resolution of disputes within specialized domains.