Quasi-Judicial Oversight of Legislative and Executive Branches at the Local Level

31 August 2020, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Oversight is a function commonly associated with the legislative branch of government at the federal and state level. To a lesser extent, the concept is extended to the judicial branch in the form of court cases clarifying the powers between the legislative-executive-judicial branches. However, at the local level, the judicial branch may not be limited to oversight of co-equal branches through court cases alone. In the state of California, there exists county-level civil grand juries which are housed in the judicial branch. Civil grand juries, which have endured since the state’s founding constitution of 1850, have complete discretion to investigate the operations of local government officials, departments, and agencies. These civil grand juries represent quasi-judicial oversight of local legislative and executive branches of government. How responsive are local legislative and executive branches of governments to such oversight?


principal-agent relationships
local government
civil grand jury


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