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Administrative Law: Overview

A guide designed for first year law students on the MU Law Library's resources for federal regulatory law.

Introduction to Administrative/Regulatory Law

What is administrative law?

Basically, administrative law consists of rules, regulations, and decisions created by agencies operating under the authority of the executive branch of government. Congress (or for state administrative law, the state legislature) delegates power to certain agencies to act on behalf of the executive in certain areas, such as banking or healthcare. These agencies create rules and regulations much like a legislature does. These same agencies are also responsible for the enforcement of these rules, and may hold hearings or tribunals, and can issue opinions just as courts do.

Who makes administrative law?

There are many agencies that have been given the power to create administrative law at both the state and federal level. Some well known federal agencies include the Environmental Protection Agency, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission. 

What kind of authority does administrative law carry? 

Administrative agencies make rules that carry the weight of statutory law through what is called enabling legislation. Enabling legislation is simply a law that gives agencies power to act, or enables them. Administrative rules and regulations are primary authority.