Judicial (Decision – Making) Power


Efficient and effective administration also requires that those entities in charge of implementing the law be armored with judicial power, to some extent, similar to the power of the ordinary courts. Enforcement of law demands imposition of sanction and taking administrative measures and decisions. When agencies exercise their judicial powers, they are in effect applying the facts to the law just like a court. Consequently, they determine rights, entitlements and benefits of individuals. The decisions may greatly affect individual‘s rights and benefits, for example, revocation of license, deportation of aliens, determining whether an applicant is entitled to pension, imposition of administrative fines for non- compliance, dismissal of a civil servant, dismissal of a university student, etc … are judicial decisions that by nature that affect the rights of individuals.
When an agency exercises its judicial function it is engaged in adjudication, a process very much similar to a trial court. While adjudicating a case, it will conduct an oral hearing with direct and cross-examination, administers oath, decides on the admissibility of evidence and may compel an individual or a company to produce evidence. Then by weighing evidence of the applicant and respondent applies and interpreters the law to give a reasoned decision. To ensure impartiality and fairness the person deciding the matter should be relatively neutral from agency influence.

Still there is likelihood that agencies may abuse their decision- making power. As a result, the lawmaker, while granting such powers, is expected to provide minimum procedures applicable in the adjudication process.