What Is Administrative Law?

Administrative law is a complex subject that encompasses many different issues. It involves the enactment, interpretation, and implementation of statutes by legislatures, courts, and administrative agencies.


Typically, these agencies decide simple and minor disputes faster and with less procedural complications than courts. However, they still have to respect due process.

Administrative agencies

Since World War II, administrative agencies have grown in number and importance in the United States. They are charged with regulating a variety of business activities, including environmental protection, labor relations, and professional licensing. These agencies help to resolve disputes more quickly and with less procedural complications than courts, allowing the courts to focus on important cases. They can also issue subpoenas for relevant information, although this must be done in accordance with the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

The law governing administrative agencies is called administrative law. It is a field of law that includes the organizational structure, powers, and duties of government agencies; their relations with one another and with nongovernmental bodies; and legal methods of controlling public administration. It is often influenced by social science research on the effects of legal decisions and draws on methods that are distinct from conventional constitutional law.

The primary function of an administrative agency is to develop and issue regulations that have the force of law. These regulations can be internal, procedural, interpretative, or legislative. An agency can also adjudicate disputes in a field that it regulates. This function is known as quasi-judicial. In some cases, an administrative agency can create a tribunal that can hear disputed matters and decide on them. The BC Admin Law Directory has a list of dozens of federal, provincial, and state organizations that make rules or resolve disputes.


Appeals are a type of legal action that can be filed against the decision of an administrative agency. These actions are typically based on the grounds that the agency failed to follow certain procedures, or that its decision was made in violation of some law or policy. Administrative appeals are similar to judicial reviews, but are less formal and generally involve less evidence.

The purpose of an administrative agency is to provide a more streamlined process for adjudicating disputes that may require the expertise of a judge or a court. This is intended to conserve judicial resources and promote more expeditious resolutions to these cases. In addition, administrative agencies can obtain relevant information more quickly than courts, and they have the ability to subpoena witnesses and compels their testimony.

A person or business who disagrees with an administrative agency’s decision can file an appeal to a civil court. Depending on the nature of the dispute, the appeal can be a full trial de novo or a review of any legal errors that the petitioner believes the agency made.

Many people and businesses need the services of an administrative law attorney when they are challenged by the decisions of a federal or state government agency. These attorneys can help you navigate the complex process of appealing a decision by an administrative agency.

Formal adjudications

Agency adjudication is a formalized process for efficiently resolving disputes, settling legal claims and deciding cases. It follows specific procedures set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act and involves a trial-like hearing, witness testimony and a written record. After the hearing, an administrative law judge or other designated presiding official issues a ruling, which may look similar to a court’s decision. The ruling contains findings of fact and conclusions of law and must be based on the evidence presented in the proceeding. If the ruling imposes a sanction, an organic statute may give the agency discretion to mitigate the sanctions upon application and argument. Mitigation should be a reasonable exercise of the agency’s discretion and should be based on how the mitigation will help achieve the goals of the organic statute.

Formal adjudications are a key part of the administrative process and operate differently than rulemaking. Rules can be implemented through a variety of mechanisms, but formal adjudications require an extensive and transparent process. Unlike a court case, an agency’s adjudicative proceeding must include prehearing discovery, and parties must be given the opportunity to present arguments and evidence.

In the past, scholars studied the complexities of the adjudicative process by focusing on APA-governed formal adjudications. Since ACUS resumed operations in 2010, however, scholars have been exploring a new world of federal agency adjudications that do not adhere to APA-governed formal adjudicatory procedures. These “non-formal” agency adjudications fall into the categories of Type B and Type C.

Due process

Due process is an essential element of the rule of law and outlines individuals’ expectations that legal matters will be resolved fairly. It is a fundamental principle of most developed countries’ legal systems and applies to both civil and criminal matters. It ensures that government actions do not violate individuals’ rights or deprive them of their property. Due process is an important part of any democracy, and its violation can lead to a loss of trust between citizens and their governments.

The concept of due process has evolved from the Magna Carta, which limited King John’s prerogatives in 1215. Since then, it has become a fundamental aspect of the Constitution and has served two basic goals. The first goal is to produce more accurate results, and the second is to make people feel that they were treated fairly by their government.

Administrative agencies regulate the daily lives of all Americans through federal, state, and local laws that affect almost every industry. These agencies are responsible for implementing and enforcing many aspects of the law, including workplace safety regulations and environmental protection. These agencies also issue permits and licenses to businesses, and they often require applicants to attend a hearing before making a decision.

However, in many cases, these hearings are conducted behind closed doors, and the public does not have access to them. This lack of transparency is a violation of due process and can lead to arbitrary decisions by government officials. The IACHR has emphasized the importance of this right and has identified certain standards for the implementation of due process in administrative proceedings, including notice and an opportunity to be heard.