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Appeal Administrative Court Decisions – Explained

Cite this article as: Jason Mance Gordon, "Appeal Administrative Court Decisions – Explained," in The Business Professor, updated January 3, 2015, last accessed April 8, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/knowledge-base/appeal-from-administrative-courts/.
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Appeal Administrative Court Decisions
How do you appeal a decision by an administrative court? Appeals to the head of the agency and trial court.

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How do cases arrive before the appellate courts?

The method by which a case arrives before an appellate court varies based upon the type of appellate court.

Appeals from Legislative and Administrative Courts – In general, parties appearing before legislative courts have direct rights of appeal to Article III Courts (District or Circuit Courts). The ability to appeal, however, is not generally immediate. A party wishing to appeal a legislative court’s decision must first appeal to the agency administrator or to an internal administrative board within the agency. Once this is complete, if this does not remedy the issue, the parties may appeal to the Federal District Court. The District Court will act as an appellate court for the matter in question. In certain cases, the parties may appeal directly to the Circuit Court and skip review by the District Court. The important thing to remember is that parties appearing before Article I courts must still have the ability to appeal the court’s decision to an Article III court. Otherwise, cutting off access to an Article III court may be unconstitutional as a violation of due process rights.

Discussion: Do you believe that the appeals procedure described above adequately protects the appellant’s constitutional right to due process? How do you feel about the requirement of having to first appeal to an internal administrator or agency board before being able to appeal to an Article III court? Can you think of any good reasons for adding this requirement?

Discussion Input

  • Some would argue that placing this administrative hurdles on a person creates an artificial barrier to exercising one’s rights. Others might argue in support of this administrative process, as it prevents clogging of the court system before attempting to exhaust the administrative process.

Practice Question: Meredith wants to file a civil action in federal court against her employer, ABC, Inc., for sex discrimination. She contends that ABC generally provides higher compensation to men than women for the same type of work and that she is a victim of this illegal treatment. She files a claim with the EEOC, the administrative agency charged with investigating claims of sex discrimination under federal law. She does not want to wait on the EEOC to undertake its investigation, so she immediately files a civil action against the employer in the federal district court. What will likely be the result of this situation?

Proposed Answer

  • Sex discrimination requires exhaustion of administrative remedies through the EEOC. The Federal District Court will likely dismiss the civil action until Meredith goes through the administrative process and receives a determination letter from the EEOC.

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