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.

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...

  • Recommendation number: 2017-4
  • Adopted on: December 14, 2017
  • Committee: Regulation

Marketable permits are a type of government-created license that regulates the level of a particular activity.[1]  Often, they ration the use of a resource (for instance, clean air by limiting pollution, fisheries by limiting fish catch, or the electromagnetic spectrum by allocating it among various uses), but they may also be used to satisfy affirmative obligations to engage in an activity (such as requirements to produce renewable...

  • Recommendation number: 2017-5
  • Adopted on: December 14, 2017
  • Committee: Judicial Review

General statements of policy under the Administrative Procedure Act (hereinafter policy statements) are agency statements of general applicability, not binding on members of the public,  “issued . . . to advise the public prospectively of the manner in which the agency proposes to exercise a discretionary power.”[1]  Interpretive rules are defined as rules or “statements issued by an agency to advise the public of the agency’s...

  • Recommendation number: 2017-6
  • Adopted on: December 15, 2017
  • Committee: Rulemaking

Making sound regulatory decisions demands information and analysis.  Several Administrative Conference recommendations encourage agencies to gather data when making new rules and when reviewing existing rules.[1]  These recommendations reinforce analytic demands imposed on agencies by legislation,[2] executive orders,[3] and judicial decisions.[4]

Agencies need information about the problems that new rules will address, such...