Definition - Adjudication
Area of Law: Adjudication


Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbiter or judge reviews evidence and argumentation including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants to come to a decision which determines rights and obligations between the parties involved. Three types of disputes are resolved through adjudication:

  • Disputes between private parties, such as individuals or corporations.
  • Disputes between private parties and public officials.
  • Disputes between public officials or public bodies.

Adjudication is the judicial or legal process of hearing and settling a dispute or conflict in a recognised formal setting. This usually involves a court or tribunal hearing where the parties in dispute have the opportunity to present their argument in the form of legal evidence to the court. Normally the parties at conflict are represented by accredited lawyers who are recognised by the court. This process is governed by previously declared formal rules of evidence and procedure.

Once all the parties have presented their case there is a formal determination or decree issued by the court which indicates that the matter has been heard and settled. The person(s) making the decision is independent of the parties in conflict and is usually a judge, a jury or an administrative tribunal.

The judge?s finding is essentially a reasoned opinion based upon the facts presented to the court within the boundaries of the law, whether legislative, precedent or both. This opinion is the basis for any review should his decision be appealed to a higher court or legal authority. The fact that a judge?s opinion is open to scrutiny ensures that he demonstrates that he has thought carefully about his decision and can account for his reasons in reaching the decision.

This is important in deterring arbitrary decisions that are unsound in law.

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Adjudication Specialists