Washington Law Review


The 1961 Revised Model State Administrative Procedure Act and most state administrative procedure acts ("APAs") provide for only one type of agency adjudication: a formal, trial-type hearing. The 1981 Model Act and five state APAs have departed from this approach by providing additional, more informal adjudicatory procedures. This Comment examines the developments since 1961 that prompted the drafters of these acts to include informal procedures. The major impetus for the change was the "due process explosion," which extended hearing rights to interests that had been considered too minor for formal hearings. The Comment then compares the 1981 Model Act and the five state acts that contain informal procedures. The acts vary on three major issues that determine their effectiveness in dealing with the due process explosion. These three issues are: (1) the way that the act determines whether there is a right to a hearing, (2) the choice between formal and informal procedures, and (3) the procedural elements required at each level of proceeding. The Comment concludes that the 1981 Model Act is the most effective of the acts because it strikes the best balance between individual rights and the need for agency efficiency.

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