West Virginia Law Review

Document Type



When the Twentieth Century acceleration of administrative dispensation of justice has come criticism of procedures followed by administrative agencies. Many complaints focus upon procedural differences between administrative and judicial adjudication, considering the latter as the acceptable norm and any deviation therefrom by administrative officials as erroneous. One such objection is that administrative tribunals do not adhere to the Anglo-American doctrine of precedent; that, instead of acting in accord with generalizations gleaned from their previous adjudications, they treat each case as a single, unique instance. Criticism of this sort presupposes that the same values served by judicial adherence to precedent are also present in agency adjudication. The purpose of this essay is to examine that premise, and also to note agency practice in respect to following precedent and court action upon review of instances in which quasi-judicial bodies have deviated from precedents.



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