What Is Administrative Law?

Administrative law covers the procedures and methods by which government agencies create rules, regulations and laws. It is distinct from statutory law, which deals with the enactment and interpretation of statutes passed by Congress.


Many countries that follow common law have established procedures for judicial review of decisions made by administrative bodies. These laws are based on principles of due process and fundamental justice.

Administrative agencies

Administrative law is the legal basis for the operations of government agencies and governmental bodies, such as boards and commissions. These agencies can create rules that have the force of law and they can also enforce those rules. It is important to understand the operations of these agencies because they have a great deal of influence over business and professional affairs in the United States. Business professionals and health care professionals frequently interact with these agencies for licensing, reimbursement, taxation, and other purposes.

The laws governing the operations of these agencies are contained in several books, including the Administrative Procedure Act. The APA sets the standards for the creation of rules by federal agencies. It also provides the procedural framework for challenging those rules. Moreover, it allows courts to review an agency’s decisions.

Supporters of administrative agencies note that they are able to dispose of relatively minor or exceedingly complex cases more quickly and flexibly than can federal courts, thus allowing them to preserve judicial resources for other significant cases. However, opponents argue that this swiftness and flexility can be achieved at the expense of fairness.

The decision-making process of most agencies is governed by their organic statutes and the APA, as well as other federal and state laws. In addition, most agencies have their own judicial body called an administrative law judge (ALJ), who is separate from the agency’s officials.


If you are not satisfied with the decision made by an administrative agency, you can file a petition for review in circuit court. A petition for review must be filed within 30 days of the decision. It must state that the person seeking review was a party to the original proceeding, and describe why the court should grant the request. It is best to use a lawyer for this purpose. Public law libraries can provide help in locating samples and templates for petitions for review.

Generally, an appeals hearing is held before an Administrative Law Judge. This hearing is usually informal, and the parties are often not represented by attorneys. In formal hearings, witnesses are sworn and evidence is presented to the judge. The judge decides whether to uphold, reverse, or vacate the original decision. In some cases, the judge may order a new hearing or trial.

Appeals operate as a process for error correction and as a means of clarifying the law. In most jurisdictions, there are both discretionary and mandatory appeals from the decisions of a lower court or agency. An example of a discretionary appeal is an appeal from a district court to the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court. In most cases, an appeal from a lower court is heard de novo, meaning the matter is tried as though it were the first time.

Judicial review

Judicial review is a legal process whereby people can challenge the lawfulness of decisions or actions by public bodies such as local councils, government departments and police forces. It is a court process that involves a judge, but it is not a trial. People who are affected by a decision, action or failure to act can apply to the High Court for judicial review. If the judge decides that the public body acted unlawfully, it may order them to change their decision or take other steps. Damages may be awarded, but they are rare.

In the United States, judicial review was created in the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison, and it is an essential part of the country’s constitution. The Supreme Court has expanded the concept of judicial review, and it is now possible for courts to invalidate laws that are inconsistent with a constitutional principle.

The idea behind judicial review is that the judiciary is independent from the executive and legislative branches of government, and can ensure that they are following the constitution. However, the Supreme Court does not have a duty to fix every mistake that the other branches of government make. There are many different kinds of judicial review cases, and each one is unique. However, there are some general rules that the courts must follow when they decide whether to review a particular case.

Due process

Due process is a fundamental concept that affects administrative law. It ensures that individuals are not subjected to arbitrary government actions and that they have the right to a fair trial. This includes having access to information about the case and having an opportunity to defend themselves. It also requires that governments provide a reasonable amount of time for proceedings and give reasons for their decisions. However, the exact nature of these requirements is not always clear. Due process violations are more common in civil and criminal cases, but they can occur in administrative situations as well.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has analyzed the issue of due process in administrative proceedings and has determined that these rights should be protected. The Court has established that the principle of due process must be applied in all types of administrative procedures. This includes cases concerning economic, social and cultural rights. The Court has also determined that state authorities must give a clear explanation of their decision in each case.

The scope of what is considered due process in administrative proceedings varies depending on the type of case and the interests involved. For example, a student suspended for ten days has a different set of due process protections than a doctor who is denied a license to practice medicine. While it is impossible to create a standard list of procedural requirements that are “due,” the Court has identified certain elements that must be included.