RunSensible’s Legal Dictionary

Your Guide to Clear and Concise Legal Definitions

Legal Dictionary


In legal terms, “capricious” refers to a decision or judgment made arbitrarily without consideration for the evidence or proper application of the law. It implies that the decision is based on whim or is unpredictable and lacks a sound, consistent, and reasonable basis. In administrative law, for instance, an action or ruling by a government agency is often deemed capricious if it logically follows the facts and evidence or fails to consider the relevant factors that ought to guide such decisions.

Courts often use the term “arbitrary and capricious” as a standard for judicial review of administrative decisions under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in the United States. If a court finds that an agency’s action is arbitrary and capricious, it can be overturned. This standard requires agencies to explain their decisions that align with the evidence and established legal standards. A failure to do so may result in a court ruling that the agency acted capriciously.

In the context of the arbitrary and capricious standard, more is needed for an agency decision to be just mistaken; it must be willfully ignorant of the law or established facts or so implausible that it could not be ascribed to any reasonable decision-maker.


Articles & News for Law Professionals

Go to Top