Administrative Law Center

Agencies may use formal and informal procedures to create rules that help them enforce laws.

Agencies may conduct investigations during rulemaking or licensing, or before an enforcement action.

Agencies may pursue administrative, civil, or criminal sanctions for violations of laws or rules.

Many rules for hearings resemble standard courtroom rules, but a judge determines factual issues.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What do administrative agencies do?
    Administrative agencies have executive, quasi-legislative, and quasi-judicial functions. They can enforce laws and regulations, create new regulations through the rulemaking process, and conduct adjudicatory proceedings involving violations of laws or regulations.
  • What are some examples of administrative agencies?
    The Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the other departments in the President’s Cabinet are examples of administrative agencies. Other examples include the Social Security Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Labor Relations Board.
  • What is the purpose of administrative law?
    The main purpose of administrative law consists of ensuring accountability for administrative agencies. By providing for judicial review of agency actions, this body of law curbs the power of the executive branch and provides transparency to the public.
  • How does an administrative agency make rules?
    First, an administrative agency publishes a proposed rule. Any member of the public can comment on the rule, which may lead to hearings and modifications. Once the rule has been finalized, the Office of Administrative Law will review the rule before it takes effect.
  • Can you appeal a decision after an administrative hearing?
    Yes, although you must exhaust your administrative remedies before reaching judicial review in a state or federal court. This means that you must first pursue any internal appeal procedures provided by the agency.
View More FAQs ›
Popular Topics
  • Executive Agencies
    Executive agencies are created by the President, who exercises substantial control over their operations and can appoint or remove the head of the agency at their discretion.
  • Independent Agencies
    Outside the direct control of the President, independent agencies are usually led by boards or commissions with several members, who cannot be removed without good cause.
  • Legislative Agencies
    Congress may create a legislative agency to help it carry out its functions by providing guidance and resources, or promoting the wellbeing of legislative branch employees or facilities.
  • Administrative Law Judges
    Presiding over administrative hearings, these judges have broad authority to review evidence and make factual and legal determinations, although their rulings may be appealed.
  • Regulatory Filings & Compliance
    A business must know and comply with the federal and state regulations that govern their industry, and they may need to demonstrate their compliance through regular or occasional filings.
View More Topics ›