Guidance refers to any rules that agencies enforce without passing them through the formal notice-and-comment rulemaking process. Guidance may take many forms, including manuals, bulletins, notices, and opinion or advice letters.
In California, guidance is generally disfavored and members of the public may petition a special California agency called the Office of Administrative Law for underground regulation determinations ordering agencies to pass guidance through formal notice-and-comment.
Nevertheless, some agencies do produce guidance, including the Department of Insurance, Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, and all of the tax agencies.
Administrative decisions are similar to court decisions but decided by agencies, rather than the courts.
Keep in mind these key points:
The best starting point for learning more about the California administrative decision process is usually the agency's website and a practice guide or treatise in the relevant practice area. For example, consult Rassp & Herlick’s California Workers’ Compensation Law for information on appearing before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and California Public Sector Employment Law (Matthew Bender) for information on appearing before the Public Employment Relations Board. These sources will point you to any agency-specific statutes, regulations, or guidance documents that govern administrative decision making by that agency.
Additionally, a few sources provide useful overviews of the general California administrative decision making process.
The California practice guide publisher CEB provides guides to the California administrative hearing process and to the administrative mandamus (judicial review) process that are available in print at the library and as part of the CEB OnLaw and CEB Pro databases:
The Rutter California Practice Guide series includes a guide to administrative law that discusses both the administrative hearing process and the administrative mandamus process. The guide is available on Westlaw and in print at the UCLA Law Library:
The treatise Witkin on California Procedure discusses California administrative adjudication at Chapter XIV. Administrative Proceedings > III. Adjudication and is available in print at the library and on Lexis and Westlaw:
The California Jurisprudence encyclopedia discusses California administrative adjudication at Administrative Law > VII. Administrative Adjudication and is available in print at the library and on Lexis and Westlaw: