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Who Can Make Findings of Fact?

March 16, 2011

Disputed vested rights issues often follow the quasi-judicial path:  appeal to a board of adjustment and judicial review in the nature of certiorari.  In an unpublished decision, Edwards v. County of Bladen, COA10-1029, the NCCOA provides an overview on findings of fact in quasi-judicial proceedings. Among the key points covered:  (1) the quasi-judical body must identify the basic facts upon which it relied with enough specificity to show what induced its decision, (2) failure of a local board to make sufficient findings is not fatal if “the record sufficiently informs [the court] of the basis of decision of the material issues or if the facts are undisputed and different inferences are not permissible,” and (3) where findings of fact from the local board are wanting, the trial court cannot make its own findings, but rather its function is limited to determining “whether the findings of fact made by the Board are supported by the evidence before the Board and whether the Board made sufficient findings of fact.”

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