Administrative Law

Definition

Branch of law governing the creation and operation of administrative agencies.  Of special importance are the powers granted to administrative agencies, the substantive rules that such agencies make, and the legal relationships between such agencies, other government bodies, and the public at large. 

Overview

Administrative law encompasses laws and legal principles governing the administration and regulation of government agencies (both Federal and state). Such agencies are delegated power by Congress (or in the case of a state agency, the state legislature) to act as agents for the executive. Generally, administrative agencies are created to protect a public interest rather than to vindicate private rights.

Governmental agencies must act within Constitutional parameters. These and other limits have been codified into statutes such as the Federal Administrative Procedure Act (FAPA) and state analogs.

The FAPA is a remedial statute designed to ensure uniformity and openness in the procedures used by federal agencies. The Act is comprised of a comprehensive regulatory scheme governing regulations, adjudications, and rule making in general terms. The FAPA is the major source for federal administrative agency law, while state agencies' administration and regulation are governed by comparable state acts.

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Category: Governmental Organization, Power, and Procedure