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Administrative Law Research: Home

Resources to help you get started with Administrative law research.

Introduction

Administrative or regulatory law is comprised of the various rules and actions that are enacted by administrative bodies such as the Executive Office of the President, the Department of Education or the Securities and Exchange Commission. Agencies have different powers depending on whether or not they are considered executive, legislative or independent. 

The role of administrative agencies is to make rules and enforce or adjudicate them. The Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§551 et. seq. gives the requirements, procedures, standards and procedures for rulemaking, hearings and adjudication. Congress makes laws that give agencies the authority to issue and enforce regulations. 

Most Federal administrative materials are printed in the Federal Register (FR) and rules are presented in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). There are various sources for State administrative materials in both print and electronic format. This guide will give you an overview of the regulatory process as well as resources and tips for starting your administrative law research.

Understanding the Regulatory Process

The Reg Map (OIRA)

The role of administrative agencies is to make rules and enforce or adjudicate them. The Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§551 et. seq. gives the requirements, procedures, standards and procedures for rulemaking, hearings and adjudication. Congress makes laws that give agencies the authority to issue and enforce regulations

Congress passes legislation which gives agencies the authority to implement that legislation by promulgating rules and adjudicating claims and disputes. Agencies have the expertise and personnel to administer federal law.

See the Reg Map @ http://www.reginfo.gov/public/reginfo/regmap/regmap.pdf for an overview of the regulatory process. 

Conflict and the Regulatory Process

Statutes and amending legislation are sources of conflict at every stage in the regulatory process. Parties may challenge regulations during the rulemaking process or in court after the regulations have been promulgated.

Selected Statutes

Federal Register Act, 44 USC § 1501 et seq. (1935) 

Provides that all agency rules will be published in the daily Federal Register and subsequently in the CFR. 

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 USC § 551 et seq. (1946) 

Established the rulemaking process, administrative procedures, adjudications, hearings, etc. 

Freedom of Information Act, 5 USC § 552 (1966) 

Ensures public access to certain requested government records (with exceptions)

Privacy Act, 5 USC § 552a (1974) 

Establishes practices for protecting the privacy of certain personally identifiable information

Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 USC § 552b (1976) 

Requires announcements for and openness of government agency meetings (with exceptions)

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, 44 USC § 3501 et seq. (1995)  

Procedures for reducing paperwork, establishes the requirement that things be sent to OMB first

Congressional Review Act, 5 USC § 801 et seq. (1996) 

Requires agencies to submit rules to Congress for 30 day review & possible disapproval

Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 USC § 504 (1980)

Reimbursement of prevailing parties for fees and costs in agency adjudications and court proceedings

Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990, 5 USC § 561, et seq. 

Agency heads can establish negotiated rulemaking committees to assist with rule formation 

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 USC 1501 et seq. 

Limits the amount Federal mandates imposed on state & local governments without providing funding

Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998, 28 USC 571 et seq. 

Authorizes and encourages U.S. district courts to use ADR process and arbitrators 

Strategies & Steps for Researching Regulations

If you have a citation or enough information to search for a citation:

  • Go to primary sources using the cite (Citation or RIN Number or Docket Number) or search by subject/keyword if you feel competent in your knowledge of the issue
  • Look at secondary source to fill in analysis and background information, including legislative history
  • Follow regulatory history found in preamble to regulation

Recent Articles from the American University Administrative Law Review

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Overview of Administrative Law