A quasi-judicial body is an entity such as an arbitrator or tribunal board, generally of a public administrative agency, which has powers and procedures resembling those of a court of law or judge, and which is obligated to objectively determine facts and draw conclusions from them so as to provide the basis of an official action. Such actions are able to remedy a situation or impose legal penalties, and may affect the legal rights, duties or privileges of specific parties.
Such bodies usually have powers of adjudication in such matters as:
- breach of discipline
- conduct rules
- trust in the matters of money or otherwise.
Their powers are usually limited to a very specific area of expertise and authority, such as land use and zoning, financial markets, employment law, public standards, and/or a specific set of regulations of an agency.
Differences from judicial
There are some key differences between judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, in that:
- Judicial decisions are bound by precedent in common law, whereas quasi-judicial decisions usually are not so bound;
- In the absence of precedent in common law, judicial decisions may create new law, whereas quasi-judicial decisions must be based on conclusions of existing law;
- Quasi-judicial bodies need not follow strict judicial rules of evidence and procedure;
- Quasi-judicial bodies must hold formal hearings only if mandated to do so under their governing laws or regulations
- A court may not be a judge in its own cause, but a quasi-judicial body may both be a party in a matter and also issue a decision thereon;
In general, decisions of a quasi-judicial body require findings of facts to reach conclusions of law that justify the decision. They usually depend on a pre-determined set of guidelines or criteria to assess the nature and gravity of the permission or relief sought, or of the offense committed. Decisions of a quasi-judicial body are often legally enforceable under the laws of a jurisdiction; they can be challenged in a court of law which is the final decisive authority.
List of quasi-judicial bodies
The following is a partial list of quasi-judicial bodies
- Company Law Board
- Philippines Commission on Elections
- Canadian International Trade Tribunal
- Canadian Transportation Agency
- European Patent Office
- Parades Commission
- Parole Board
- Planning Committee
- Human Rights Committee
- International Narcotics Control Board
- Sheriffs Principal in Scotland
- Ontarian committees of adjustment
- Californian planning commissions
- California Coastal Commission
- Federal Aviation Administration
- Election Commission of India
- Commission of Inquiry
- US Patent & Trademark Office including the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences
- New Zealand's Broadcasting Standards Authority
- Mashaw, Jerry L., Richard A. Merrill, and Peter M. Shane. 1992. Administrative Law: The American Public Law System; Cases and Materials. 3d ed. St. Paul, Minn.: West.
- West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc.