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A comprehensive phrase that can refer to any administrative agency but usually means a public agency that holds hearings.
An administrative board is usually obligated to represent the public interest; courts, in contrast, must remain impartial between the two parties before them. A parole board, for example, holds informal hearings where prisoners are allowed to offer evidence of their suitability for early release from prison. The strict rules observed in a courtroom do not apply to board hearings like these, and the board's decision must take into account the public's interest as well as the prisoner's rights.