The main statutory function of ACUS is to bring together the public and private sectors to recommend improvements to administrative and regulatory processes.

ACUS’s Office of the Chairman, with the approval of the Council, engages consultants to study administrative processes or procedures that may need improvement. Consultants or in-house staff then prepare a comprehensive research report proposing recommendations. An ACUS committee discusses this report, preparing a draft Recommendation to submit to the Council and, with approval, to the Assembly. Following a debate the Assembly adopts the final Recommendation, which ACUS undertakes to implement.                                                                              

On occasion, the ACUS membership has acted to adopt a “Statement” to express its views on a particular matter without making a formal recommendation on the subject.  ACUS statements are typically the product of the same process that leads to recommendations, but may set forth issues, conclusions from a study, or comments, rather than recommendations.  ACUS has adopted 20 such statements, which are included in the searchable database of recommendations.

  • Recommendation number: 2018-2
  • Adopted on: June 15, 2018
  • Committee: Judicial Review

If a court holds portions of a rule unlawful, and the agency has been silent about severability, then the default remedy is to vacate the entire rule, including those portions that the court did not hold unlawful.[1] This outcome can impose unnecessary costs on the agency, if it chooses to re-promulgate the portions of the rule that the court did not hold unlawful but nonetheless set aside, and on the public, which would forgo any...

Courts and adjudicative agencies have increasingly come to rely on technology to manage various aspects of their adjudicative activities. Some of these federal agencies have adopted and implemented a form of electronic management for their casework, but others have not done so. Although practical considerations or resource constraints may sometimes weigh against the use of an electronic case management system (eCMS), agencies can...

  • Recommendation number: 2018-4
  • Adopted on: December 13, 2018
  • Committee: Adjudication

Recusal, the voluntary or involuntary withdrawal of an adjudicator from a particular proceeding, is an important tool for maintaining the integrity of adjudication. Recusal serves two important purposes. First, it helps ensure that parties to an adjudicative proceeding have their claims resolved by an impartial decisionmaker. This aspect of recusal is reflected in the Due Process Clause, as well as statutory, regulatory, and other...

Every year, federal agencies conduct hundreds of thousands of adjudications.[1] In order to participate meaningfully in adjudications, persons appearing before federal agencies must have ready online access both to the key materials associated with these adjudications (including prior decisions) and the procedural rules governing them. Administrative Conference Recommendation 2017-1 addresses the former set of materials, urging...

  • Recommendation number: 2018-6
  • Adopted on: December 13, 2018
  • Committee: Regulation

As agencies develop regulations, they often seek input from the public. In order to submit an informed comment, a member of the public needs to be able to at least: (1) access the proposed rule and the agency’s justification for it, and (2) access materials upon which the agency substantially relied to develop the proposed rule. Commenters should also be able to access other comments that may have been submitted on the proposed rule...

  • Recommendation number: 2018-7
  • Adopted on: December 14, 2018
  • Committee: Rulemaking

Robust public participation is vital to the rulemaking process. By providing opportunities for public input and dialogue, agencies can obtain more comprehensive information, enhance the legitimacy and accountability of their decisions, and increase public support for their rules.[1] Agencies, however, often face challenges in involving a variety of affected interests and interested persons in the rulemaking process.


  • Recommendation number: 2018-8
  • Adopted on: December 14, 2018
  • Committee: Regulation

Federal agencies often participate in public-private partnerships (partnerships) to assist in carrying out their missions.[1] A private-sector entity and the federal government may have a variety of reasons for wanting to partner with one another. Both sectors may find, for instance, that a partnership with the other allows them to access more resources and expertise. Expanded access to such resources and expertise may allow them to...

In contrast to federal court records, which are available for download from the judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) program (for a fee), or records produced during notice-and-comment rulemaking, which are publicly disseminated on the rulemaking website, there exists no single, comprehensive online clearinghouse for the public hosting of decisions and other materials generated throughout...

  • Recommendation number: 2017-2
  • Adopted on: June 16, 2017
  • Committee: Rulemaking

Since the enactment of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in 1946, public input has been an integral component of informal rulemaking.  The public comment process gives agencies access to information that supports the development of quality rules and arguably enhances the democratic accountability of federal agency rulemaking.  As early as the 1960s, however, many agencies reported that notice-and-comment rulemaking “had become...

  • Recommendation number: 2017-3
  • Adopted on: December 14, 2017
  • Committee: Regulation

For decades, agencies have worked to make regulatory requirements more comprehensible to regulatory stakeholders and the public at large, including by using “plain language” or “plain writing.”[1] Clearly drafting and explaining regulations facilitates the core administrative law goals of public participation, efficient compliance, judicial review, and the protection of rights. Numerous statutory and executive requirements direct...