The United States employs a complex legal system to ensure maximum fairness for all parties involved. In many cases this involves forms of adjudication that take place in the courts. Many instances involve the role of courts to settle disputes within the United States. Since there are so many different laws, there is an equal amount of disagreements to arise amongst parties.
Adjudication can occur in three different forms: between private parties, between private parties and public officials and between public bodies. In all cases it requires the use of an arbiter to settle the dispute and award claims fairly to the winning party. If the ruling of the courts is not followed by the losing party, the courts then have the right to enforce their decision.
Even within the scope of the different types of adjudication that can occur there are variations. Adjudication that occurs between private parties can happen in two main forms. This can be between private individuals, usually the most common form of this type of court preceding is found within small claims courts. Many sports fans know of arbitration, which is a form of adjudication that happens between a private party (the player) and a company (the ownership of the franchise the player plays for).
Many times judicial cases involve a private party and some form of public body. Many of the largest court cases heard within the United States by the Supreme Court fit this definition. During the Civil Rights Movement, the Brown v. Board of Education case illustrates a private party (Brown) suing a public body (the Kansas Board of Education). Many of these cases happen within the scope of a Federal court, or they may begin at state courts and eventually move to the Federal level.
When laws come into question, usually the losing party will appeal the lower court’s decision to a higher court. Some cases on appeal reach all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and this is true for either the private individual or public entity.
The last form of adjudication, between public bodies, is usually dealt with at the Federal level. This occurs when two governmental agencies both feel that they are entitled to certain powers both or one may exercise. Government overlap happens frequently so when public entities disagree it can redefine the roles of governmental agencies.
Usually the role of a governmental agency is defined by the legislature. However, sometimes the laws are written too vaguely giving power to two agencies so the court will need to interpret what the law actually meant.
These are murky waters as these types of cases can usually be alleviated before they even come in front of the courts. When laws are written in very plain language it usually creates an atmosphere where the governmental agencies each know their proper role and the courts need not interpret the law since it is written clearly.
The United States adjudication system involves many different processes. Each has their own characteristics that define the role of the courts differently. Yet still the overall goal of these processes is to create a fair and balanced process for all parties involved.