Notice & Comment

ACUS Update: Four New Recommendations Adopted & ACUS-LSC Hold Third Public Forum on Assisting Parties in Administrative Adjudication

ACUS Assembly Adopts Four New Recommendations

The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) convened in its 79th Plenary Session on Thursday, June 15, 2023, at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. A recording of the day’s proceedings is available online via ACUS’s YouTube page.

Following a report from ACUS Chair Andrew Fois and remarks by OIRA Administrator Richard Revesz, the ACUS Assembly considered and ultimately adopted four new recommendations:

Recommendation 2023-1, Proactive Disclosure of Agency Legal Materials. Building upon ACUS’s prior work on improving the public availability of information, this recommendation identifies statutory reforms that, if enacted by Congress, would provide clear standards as to what legal materials agencies must publish and where they must publish them (whether in the Federal Register, on their websites, or elsewhere). The amendments also account for technological developments and correct certain statutory ambiguities and drafting errors. The objective of these amendments is to ensure that agencies provide ready public access to important legal materials in the most efficient way possible.

Consistent with Paragraph 8 of Recommendation 2023-1, which directs the Office of the Chair to “prepare and submit to Congress proposed statutory changes” to effect these reforms, Chair Fois will soon convene a Working Group of ACUS Members to assist with preparation and review of draft implementing legislation.

Additional information on Recommendation 2023-1, including the in-depth research report that informed its development, is available on the project page on ACUS’s website.

Recommendation 2023-2, Virtual Public Engagement in Agency Rulemaking. This recommendation offers best practices to promote enhanced transparency, accessibility, and accountability when agencies use virtual tools, like internet-based videoconferencing, to host public engagement meetings during the rulemaking process. It encourages agencies to provide virtual options when it would be beneficial to do so and identifies best practices for structuring virtual public engagements in a way that meets public expectations and promotes valuable input for the agency.

Additional information on Recommendation 2023-2, including the underlying research report authored by ACUS Attorney Advisor Kazia Nowacki, is available on the project page on ACUS’s website.

Recommendation 2023-3, Using Algorithmic Tools in Retrospective Review of Agency Rules. This recommendation provides best practices for agencies to consider when designing or using artificially intelligent or algorithmic tools to identify rules that are outmoded or redundant, contain typographical errors or inaccurate cross-references, or might benefit from resolving issues with intersecting or overlapping rules or standards. It also discusses how agencies can design these tools in a way that promotes transparency, public participation, and accountability.

Additional information on Recommendation 2023-3 is available on the project page on ACUS’s website.

Recommendation 2023-4, Online Processes in Agency Adjudication. This recommendation identifies best practices for developing online processes by which private parties, representatives, and other participants in agency adjudications can file forms, evidence, and briefs; view case materials and status information; receive notices and orders; and perform other common adjudicative tasks.

Additional information on the development and consideration of Recommendation 2023-4, including the underlying research report authored by ACUS Attorney Advisor Matthew Gluth, is available on the project page on ACUS’s website.

ACUS and LSC Co-Host Public Forum on Expanding Resources for Self-Represented Parties in Administrative Adjudication

On June 27, 2023, ACUS and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) co-hosted a virtual panel discussion on Expanding Resources for Self-Represented Parties in Federal Administrative Proceedings, the third event in their ongoing public forum series entitled, Assisting Parties in Federal Administrative Adjudication.

During the panel discussion, which was moderated by ACUS Public Member Eloise Pasachoff, legal aid attorneys and officials from the Taxpayer Advocate Service and the Justice Department’s Office for Access to Justice discussed ways that agencies can assist self-represented parties in administrative adjudications by employing tools such as technology resources and how-to guides.

A recording of the first panel discussion in this series, Expanding Access to Representation, is available here. A recording of the second panel discussion, entitled Promoting Effective Representation, is available here.

This post is part of the Administrative Conference Update series, which highlights new and continuing projects, upcoming committee meetings, proposed and recently adopted recommendations, and other news about the Administrative Conference of the United States. The series is further explained here, and all prior posts in the series can be found here.

Conrad Dryland is an Attorney Advisor & Special Counsel to the Chair at the Administrative Conference of the United States. Any views expressed belong to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Administrative Conference or the federal government.

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