1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 600, Alexandria, Virginia 22314
571-366-1702 866-717-0353 571-366-1702 866-717-0353
Overview of Administrative Law

Overview of Administrative Law

Administrative law is the body of law that is created by the rules, regulations, and decisions of federal, state, and municipal administrative agencies.

What powers do administrative agencies have?

The U.S. Congress delegates authority to issue regulations to independent federal agencies (e.g., Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission) and certain departments within the Executive Branch (e.g., Department of Commerce, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor). In addition, these agencies are authorized to enforce their regulations, so they also perform an adjudicatory function. Similarly, state legislatures delegate authority to issue and enforce regulations to state agencies and state departments. Local governments delegate authority to issue and enforce regulations to local bodies.

Are there procedural standards for administrative agencies?

The procedural standards for federal administrative agencies are set out in the Federal Administrative Procedure Act. Most states have also adopted administrative procedure acts. These standards control the process used by the agency in adopting regulations, which are generally more specific and detailed than laws, and in enforcing its regulations.

How does the administrative rulemaking process work?

Administrative agencies have broad authority to adopt rules and regulations. These rules and regulations have the force and effect of law. The rulemaking process consists of public notice of proposed rules, followed by a period of public comment and input about the proposed rules. The agency then adopts a final rule or regulation after considering the public’s input.

How does the administrative adjudication process work?

Administrative agencies have authority to enforce the rules and regulations they have adopted. Some agencies, such as the Social Security Administration or a state unemployment insurance board, regulate benefits that are available to applicants. If the agency denies an applicant’s request for benefits (or reduces or terminates such benefits), the applicant can object to the agency’s decision. An administrative law judge (ALJ) then holds an administrative hearing. Administrative hearings are more informal than trials. Both the applicant and the agency present evidence and introduce witnesses. The ALJ makes a decision, which is called an administrative order. The ALJ’s decision can be reviewed by a higher level within the agency or by a court.

Other agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), regulate the actions or conduct of individuals or companies. If the FDA finds that an individual or a company has violated a regulation adopted by it, the FDA can enforce its regulation. An administrative hearing, as described above, is held if the individual or the company objects to the FDA’s action.

Quick Contact Form

Quick Contact Form