Administrative Justice

Administrative Justice: Advocacy and Change in a Government Agency

Philippe Nonet
Copyright Date: 1969
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610446754
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  • Book Info
    Administrative Justice
    Book Description:

    Uses the case study of the California Industrial Accident Commission to explore issues in sociological jurisprudence. It traces the progression of the Commission from a welfare agency with broad discretion in policymaking and interpretation into a relatively passive arbitrator of industrial accident claim disputes. The author examines the effect of the elaboration of legal rules and doctrines, the significance of the procedural aspects of law, and the interplay of the legal process and institutional change. He then notes the conditions which will either permit or restrain a legal process that will remain highly responsive to social needs.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-675-4
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. v-vi)
    Philip Selznick

    In this study of the politics of procedure, Philippe Nonet follows the best tradition of the “case study” in social science. He uses quite specialized materials to help develop a theoretical perspective. For most people, including social scientists, the administration of workmen’s compensation is not a salient concern. But Professor Nonet understands that, to a very large extent, justice is done and undone in the shadowed places where administrative decisions are made. And he has brought to his study a sociological awareness that casts light on larger issues of contemporary jurisprudence.

    Administrative Justiceprovides fresh data on matters that are...

  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. I Introduction
    (pp. 1-15)

    This is a study of law, polities, and administration. The inquiry began as an effort to look at law in action by studying the history of a government agency to which important dispute-settling, rights-determining functions had been assigned. A branch of the California Department of Industrial Relations, the Industrial Accident Commission (IAC) was responsible for administering state workmen’s compensation laws, that is, the legislation governing the liability of employers for injuries occurring to employees in connection with their work. Neither the IAC nor workmen’s compensation has attracted much public or scholarly attention. Yet their creation in the early 1910’s marks...

  6. II The Early IAC: An Agency of Public Welfare
    (pp. 16-40)

    The broad problems of industrial accidents that led to the adoption of workmen’s compensation may seem fairly easy to understand. What is less obvious is the set of reasons that brought government to choose the specificmeansby which it eventually responded to those problems. Why, in particular, should the handling of compensation issues have been entrusted to an administrative agency? Why not simply pass a new law, and let the courts handle the detailed issues that would later arise in the concrete implementation of legal policies?

    To answer this question, we shall have to examine a number of ideas...

  7. III A Critical Decision: Voluntarism and Positive Government
    (pp. 41-65)

    Committed as it was to a public welfare role, the Industrial Accident Commission was nevertheless profoundly ambivalent as to the means it would choose for implementing its program. Although its aims would seemingly have called for thorough intervention in the management of private interests, the agency was equally strongly committed to a philosophy of government that placed considerable limitations on administrative authority. This philosophy underscored the values of voluntarism and self-government. It saw in consensus the primary foundation of public policy; it invited maximum participation of affected persons in the formation of policies, and encouraged delegating to them an extended...

  8. IV The Parties: The Growth of Initiative and Competence
    (pp. 66-103)

    This chapter is concerned with the character and capabilities of the main parties the Industrial Accident Commission deals with—employers, insurers, and employees. As we have seen, the character of the parties had been a major consideration in pushing the agency toward an active role in the administration of compensation law. On the one hand, it had become apparent that insurance and industry could not be trusted with the initiative of distributing benefits; they had to be educated in the new policies, supervised in their day-to-day operations, and often compelled to comply with the law. On the other hand, labor...

  9. V The Legal Profession: Organizational Advocacy
    (pp. 104-124)

    The availability of professional legal services is often a prerequisite for the full accomplishment of legal competence. This is, of course, true in the obvious sense that lawyers are the main, if not the only, source of the technical knowledge and skills legal action requires. But the lawyer can bring more to his client than technical expertise. He may have command of social and political resources that are unavailable to ordinary citizens. More importantly, he comes to the layman with a professional commitment to law as the way of ordering social life. A critical aspect of the lawyer’s work is...

  10. VI Administrative Withdrawal
    (pp. 125-164)

    The aim of this chapter is to describe and account for the way in which the Industrial Accident Commission responded to the emergence of organized group conflict. Briefly, this response was a retreat from administrative responsibilities; the commission progressively renounced its powers and repudiated its policy commitments. By the end of this evolution, the agency had lost all the major functions it had assumed as an administrator of the compensation system—control and surveillance over insurers and injured men, education and assistance to the parties, and initiation of new policies and programs.

    Clearly, the growth of group conflict cannot by...

  11. VII The Emergence of a Court
    (pp. 165-210)

    The retreat described in the preceding chapter did more than render the Industrial Accident Commission relatively impotent as an administrative agency. A parallel change occurred—the emergence of a new conception of the agency as a court of law. From an administrative authority, which looked to the results of action as the test of policy and decision, the commission was transformed into a judicial body, which sought in rules and principles the guide for and the justification of its determinations. The growth of this orientation toward principled decision-making will be the theme of the present chapter.

    Historically, administrative withdrawal and...

  12. VIII Uses of Judicialism
    (pp. 211-243)

    The story told in the preceding chapter is incomplete in two major respects. First, although the parties have performed a crucial role in subjecting the Industrial Accident Commission to judicial standards of accountability, the process has not been solely one of reluctant agency concessions to outside pressures. In the last two decades, the parties have found increasing support for their demands within the agency itself, and the commission has come to affirm the view of itself as a court that was being pressed upon it. To the IAC, the new doctrine appeared increasingly useful as a symbol and warrant of...

  13. IX Legal Development and Institutional Change
    (pp. 244-268)

    Legalization has been a central theme of this study. We have traced the emergence of legal perspectives in a contested area of social policy. We have explored the conditions that foster a competent use of and participation in the legal process. And we have seen the impact of these changes on the role of government, especially the drift from administrative to judicial discretion. In this chapter we consider some of the larger issues that arise from the interplay of legalization, administration, and politics.

    As the IAC drifted from administration to adjudication, workmen’s compensation evolved from a piece of welfare legislation...

  14. Index
    (pp. 269-274)