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Administrative/Regulatory Law: Definition & Example Cases

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  • 0:06 Administrative Law
  • 1:39 Administrative Agencies
  • 4:36 Further Examples of…
  • 5:51 Administrative Law…
  • 8:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley Dugger

Ashley is an attorney. She has taught and written various introductory law courses.

Administrative laws are those laws that govern the formation and operation of administrative agencies and the rulings made by administrative agencies. This type of law is sometimes called regulatory law. This lesson explores administrative law and administrative agencies.

Administrative Law

Administrative laws are laws pertaining to administrative agencies. These laws govern the formation and operation of administrative agencies.

Administrative law is also sometimes called regulatory law. This is a broad area of the law. It covers many different types of issues, legal procedures, and regulations. Administrative law is a type of public law.

Generally speaking, there are two types of administrative law. The first type includes rules and regulations. Rules and regulations are policies that dictate how a law is to be used.

Congress and state legislatures enact laws, but they don't usually specify how laws should be used. Our government uses special agencies in order to administer the law. These agencies use rules and regulations to determine how a law will be applied and enforced. These rules and regulations are a type of law.

The second type of administrative law includes administrative decisions. Government agencies issue their own decisions regarding the application and enforcement of rules and regulations. A government agency has the power to conduct its own hearings and render its own opinions and orders. Rulings are made by administrative law judges. These decisions are also a type of law.

Administrative Agencies

All administrative law is run through government agencies. Our government is made up of numerous administrative agencies. These agencies are also sometimes called regulatory agencies. Agencies can be federal, state, city, or county entities.

These agencies administer laws and manage public programs through the use of rules and regulations. Each agency is responsible for administering a particular set of laws, or often, a particular legislative act. A legislative act contains a set of laws. Agencies often possess the power to grant licenses and permits, investigate complaints, and punish infractions, as well as many other duties related to a particular set of laws.

For example, the National Do-Not-Call Registry was created by the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003. It's enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (known as the FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (known as the FCC). These are both federal administrative agencies. These agencies take complaints, investigate violations, and issue punishments related to the Do-Not-Call Registry.

Most administrative agencies are created in order to protect a public interest, such as privacy, civil rights, or disease prevention. For example, the Clean Air Act is a set of federal laws aimed at preventing pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency (known as the EPA) is a federal agency charged with administering the Clean Air Act. If I have a pollution complaint, I can directly contact the EPA. The EPA can investigate, conduct hearings, and issue fines based on what it discovers.

Federal agencies are created and empowered by the United States Congress. These agencies mostly act as an arm of the executive branch of government, but some federal agencies are independent.

State agencies are created and empowered by that state's legislature. For example, the Arkansas State Bank Department was created by the Arkansas state legislature.

The Federal Administrative Procedure Act (FAPA) directs federal administrative agency law. This act governs federal administrative agencies in proposing and establishing regulations. FAPA also directs the process that allows federal courts to review agency decisions. States have their own versions of the FAPA.

Further Examples

There are hundreds of federal administrative agencies, including the examples already mentioned.

Another well-known example is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This agency is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee. The EEOC investigates complaints of job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, and age.

Another example is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC was created by the Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972. It's an independent agency that oversees the safety of products sold in the United States.

The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) is another example of an independent federal administrative agency. It was created by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. The FLRA governs labor relations between the federal government and its employees.

Administrative Law Cases and Federal Courts

There are many famous Supreme Court cases involving administrative law. Administrative agencies interpret laws and issue opinions. A federal court may then review those interpretations and opinions, but for the most part, the court will defer to an agency's ruling.

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