Understanding Administrative Law Regulations: A Primer

Administrative law is a branch of law that governs the actions of administrative agencies, including the executive branch of government. Administrative law regulations can have a significant impact on businesses, individuals, and the government. Understanding administrative law regulations is essential for anyone who interacts with government agencies or wants to engage in administrative proceedings. In this article, we will explore the basics of administrative law regulations and how they work.

What is Administrative Law?

Administrative law is the body of law that governs the creation, operation, and regulation of administrative agencies. Administrative agencies are government bodies responsible for implementing laws and regulations. They can be created by Congress, state legislatures, or executive orders. Administrative law applies to a broad range of agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Sources of Administrative Law

Administrative law comes from a variety of sources, including statutes, regulations, and case law. Statutes are laws created by Congress or state legislatures that give agencies the authority to regulate certain activities. Regulations are rules created by agencies that provide more detail about how the agency will implement a statute. Case law comes from court decisions that interpret statutes and regulations and establish legal precedents.

The Role of Administrative Agencies

Administrative agencies play a critical role in implementing laws and regulations. They have the authority to investigate violations of regulations, issue licenses and permits, and adjudicate disputes. Administrative agencies can also create new regulations and change existing ones, subject to review by the courts.

Rulemaking Process

The rulemaking process is the process by which administrative agencies create regulations. The process typically begins with a notice of proposed rulemaking, which is published in the Federal Register. The notice provides the public with an opportunity to comment on the proposed regulation. After considering the comments, the agency may issue a final rule. The final rule has the force of law and can be enforced by the agency.

Judicial Review

Judicial review is the process by which the courts review administrative decisions. The courts can review agency actions to ensure they comply with the Constitution and other applicable laws. The courts can also review agency decisions to ensure they are based on a reasonable interpretation of the law and supported by substantial evidence.

Administrative Adjudication

Administrative adjudication is the process by which administrative agencies resolve disputes. Adjudication can involve hearings before administrative law judges, with the parties presenting evidence and arguments. The administrative law judge issues a decision, which can be appealed to the agency’s appellate body. Administrative adjudication can also involve informal processes such as mediation and settlement negotiations.


In conclusion, administrative law regulations play a significant role in our daily lives, and understanding them is essential. Administrative agencies have the power to create regulations, investigate violations, issue licenses, and resolve disputes. The rulemaking process and judicial review provide a system of checks and balances to ensure that agencies act within the law. By understanding administrative law regulations, businesses, individuals, and the government can navigate administrative proceedings with confidence.


  1. What is the difference between administrative law and constitutional law? Ans: Constitutional law is the body of law that governs the structure and powers of the federal and state governments. Administrative law, on the other hand, governs the actions of administrative agencies.
  2. What is the purpose of administrative law? Ans: The purpose of administrative law is to ensure that administrative agencies act within the law and are accountable to the public.
  3. How are administrative agencies created? Ans: Administrative agencies can be created by Congress, state legislatures, or executive orders.
  4. Can administrative agencies create laws? Ans: Administrative agencies can create regulations, which have the force of law, subject to review by the courts.