The debate about the legal protection of private parties at the EU level has been revolving mostly around the EU Courts. Non-judicial mechanisms proliferating at the EU level, such as the boards of appeal set up in certain agencies, have attracted much less scholarly attention. They are usually considered inferior forms of legal protection due to insufficient independence or the lack of fair trial guarantees. To verify these assumptions, this article examines the operation of the Board of Appeal of the European Chemical Agency. It argues that the practice of administrative review by the Board, despite doctrinal and conceptual distinctions, is comparable to the judicial review by the General Court, when it comes to decision-making independence, review technique, remedies, accessibility and fair trial standards. The specific role of the boards of appeal requires therefore a clearer articulation within the debate about the shape of EU judicial architecture.