What Is Administrative Law?

성범죄변호사 Administrative law is concerned with regulating the operations of public administrators. Its focus is on preventing misconduct by providing standardized requirements and accountability mechanisms.


It also subjects agency actions to extensive oversight by the courts. Lawyers who represent clients interacting with government agencies need to understand administrative law. These include lawyers defending those who are denied benefits or punished for noncompliance.


When Congress or a state legislature passes laws on complicated issues they often need help determining all of the details on how those laws will be enforced and implemented. This is where administrative law comes in. It is the body of laws, procedures and legal institutions governing how government agencies implement legislation passed by legislative bodies.

Administrative law covers a variety of fields including occupational laws, such as rules that regulate the practice of medicine or law and regulations on a particular industry, and environmental laws. It also deals with judicial review, which gives the courts power to review decisions made by administrative bodies.

The law governing administrative agencies is often considered a branch of public law, unlike other areas of the law such as criminal or civil law which govern private affairs. This distinction means that anyone who interacts with an administrative agency, whether it be the EPA or their local workers compensation board, will need to know about this body of law. Similarly, those who are challenging an administrative decision will need an attorney with expertise in this field of law.


The main purposes of administrative law are to govern the functions and powers of government institutions, control their exercise of power, and protect individuals from the arbitrary exercise of authority. In addition, it provides a framework for administrative agencies to perform their function in the least restrictive way possible.

Congress grants agencies their powers through enabling statutes, which specify the agency’s purpose and the scope of its activities. When a court reviews an agency action, the court looks at whether or not it exceeds its statutory authority.

In order to ensure transparency and control, courts review administrative actions through the process of judicial review. This allows a judge to determine whether the agency acted within its statutory limits and to inquire as to the reason for its decision making. In doing so, judicial review brings the power of an agency closer to the principles of the rule of law. It is also an important method of holding executive and governmental bodies accountable to democratic legislative decisions. In doing so, it has become an integral part of the legal system.


Administrative law focuses on government regulation and policymaking. It affects people in their daily lives, from the granting of benefits like Social Security to the policing of roads or the collection of taxes. It’s a hugely diverse field that spans every industry. It’s also a unique field that offers many different career paths—from top-level government jobs to private sector work advising titans of industry and to public interest work helping individuals navigate bureaucracies.

The legal framework that powers and limits administrative agencies is a complex one—one that includes constitutional, statutory, and common laws as well as rules and regulations that agencies themselves create through rule-making processes. The study of administrative law at Michigan Law gives students the opportunity to explore these issues through a range of electives taught by scholars who are leading precedent-setting cases on the subject and practicing attorneys.

Many federal agencies act somewhat like legislatures through the process of creating and enforcing their rules, and a little bit like courts in the process of adjudicating disputes about those rules. For this reason, research in administrative law is often quite broad and stretches across a wide range of materials—from proposed regulations to court opinions and presidential orders.


The law regulating the internal affairs of government departments and agencies (e.g., relations between departments and their officials) is considered administrative law. The law regulating external affairs of the administration, such as relations between the administration and private persons or interests, is not considered administrative law.

While Georgetown students often think of federal agencies and laws, state, county and city governments also have agency-like departments and commissions that make and enforce policy and adjudicate claims and disputes. These can also have significant impact on the daily lives of large numbers of people and businesses.

Most states have statutes defining the structure and authority of their agencies, as well as governing how they must make their decisions and conduct their proceedings. Many have judicial review provisions, similar to the constitutionally guaranteed writs of due process in the United States and fundamental justice in Canada. These writs allow courts to review decisions of administrative bodies, but do not address the substance of those decisions. Instead, judicial review looks at the process by which an agency reached its decision.


As governments adapt to new challenges, research on administrative law will increasingly focus on how rules and procedures can advance core political values. Such concerns will be augmented by expanding knowledge about how laws, institutions, and procedures operate at an international level.

The constitutional principles underlying delegated law insist that, however powerful they may be, executives and decision-makers must be subordinate to Parliament’s law. Nevertheless, these same principles allow for certain political control over tribunals and decision-makers. Such political control, when it is not abused, is a necessary tool of accountability. The core problem with the administration of delegated law, therefore, is not that executives exercise too much control; it is that they transgress the limits of the legislative delegation entrusted to them.

Thus, human rights and independence advocates should accept a basic element of political control while focusing on the misuse of such controls to undermine administrative accountability. Rather than promoting general norms of independence, such advocates should promote targeted statutory amendments to prevent executive abuses of the legislative power that they have been entrusted with.