Independent Research by Agency Adjudicators in the Internet Age

Recommendation 2019-6 – Independent Research by Agency Adjudicators in the Internet Age addresses agency adjudicators’ increasing reliance on their own factual research—especially internet research—when conducting hearings and deciding cases. Though such independent research can be an efficient means to acquire facts, it can also raise concerns regarding the accuracy of information uncovered and fairness to the litigants. The recommendation encourages agencies to develop publicly available policies on independent research that identify sources of information that are reliable in all cases, set forth standards for adjudicators to apply when assessing the reliability of other sources, and ensure that litigants have ready access to all sources.

Citation: Admin. Conf. of the U.S., Recommendation 2019-6, Independent Research by Agency Adjudicators in the Internet Age, 84 Fed. Reg. 71,350 (Dec. 27, 2019).

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Committee: 

Final Recommendation

  • Recommendation number: 2019-6
  • Adopted on: December 13, 2019
  • Committees: Adjudication

A fundamental characteristic of agency adjudications that incorporate a legally required evidentiary hearing is the existence of an exclusive record for decision making.[1] The exclusive record in adjudications regulated by the formal-hearing provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) consists of the “transcript of testimony and exhibits, together with all papers and requests filed in the proceeding.”[2] Many other...

Project Documents

Name Committee Type Date
Final Report on Independent Research by Agency Adjudicators in the Internet Age Adjudication Report October 31, 2019 Download
Draft Report on Internet Evidence in Agency Adjudication Adjudication Report September 17, 2019 Download
Independent Research by Agency Adjudicators in the Internet Age Adjudication Recommendation December 27, 2019 Download
Recommendation Redline for Plenary - Internet Evidence in Agency Adjudication Adjudication Recommendation December 5, 2019 Download
Proposed Recommendation for Plenary - Internet Evidence in Agency Adjudication - Clean Adjudication Recommendation November 21, 2019 Download
Proposed Recommendation from Committee - Internet Evidence in Agency Adjudication Adjudication Recommendation October 25, 2019 Download
Draft Recommendation on Internet Evidence in Agency Adjudication for 10-16-2019 Committee Meeting Adjudication Recommendation October 8, 2019 Download
Draft Recommendation on Internet Evidence in Agency Adjudication with 9-26-2019 Committee Meeting Redline Adjudication Recommendation September 26, 2019 Download
Draft Recommendation on Internet Evidence in Agency Adjudication for 9-26-2019 Committee Meeting Adjudication Recommendation September 17, 2019 Download
Comment from National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives Adjudication Public Comment November 6, 2019 Download
Comment from Jeffrey S. Lubbers Adjudication Member Comment October 25, 2019 Download
Agenda for Committee Meeting 10-16-2019 Adjudication Agenda October 8, 2019 Download
Agenda for Committee Meeting 9-26-2019 Adjudication Agenda September 17, 2019 Download
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