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Administrative Law: Federal Agency Decisions

A guide designed for first year law students on the MU Law Library's resources for federal regulatory law / Last updated by Jacob Wood, JD '25


Agency decisions and adjudications are governed by the Administrative Procedure Act. Agencies are given the power to not only issue regulations, but to also interpret their own rules by issuing decisions. These kinds of proceedings are an exercise of judicial power by an administrative agency. Agency adjudications can be formal or informal. Formal adjudications are much like the traditional adversarial process with witness testimony, a written record and final decision rendered. On the other hand, informal adjudications are decisions made using various forms of inspections, conferences and negotiations.

Such decisions are made by Administrative Law Judges based on their reasoned analysis, findings of fact, and conclusions of law. These decisions can be appealed to the highest authority of the agency. Findings of fact in administrative adjudications are non-binding unless supported by substantial evidence. Judicial review is limited to questions of law only.

These decisions are not published in the Federal Register and there is not any one place where agency decisions are reported and available to be viewed by the public. There is no one set of reporters that contains decisions of all agencies. The way an agency publishes its decisions is determined by the individual agency.

Federal Agency Decisions

Administrative law judges conduct hearings and issue decisions for federal agencies. Many of these decisions are available through the agency's website.

  • Administrative Decisions By Agency (University of Virginia Library)
    This site from provides links to agency materials not included in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations, including decisions, guidance documents, advisory opinions, and policy letters.  
  • U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, and Appeals (HeinOnline)
    This resource provides full-text access to decisions and other publications from a wide range of U.S. agencies including the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Coverage typically extends back to the particular title's inception. This resource is available to authorized University of Missouri Users, either on or off campus.


Federal Agency Directories