Administrative law

From Academic Kids

Administrative law is the body of law that arises from the activities of administrative agencies of government. Government agency action can include rulemaking, adjudication, or the enforcement of a specific regulatory agenda. Administrative law is a considered a branch of public law. As a body of law, administrative law deals with the decision-making of administrative units of government (e.g., tribunals, boards or commissions) that are part of a state regulatory scheme in such areas as international trade, manufacturing, the environment, taxation, broadcasting, immigration and transport. Administrative law expanded greatly during the twentieth century, as legislative bodies world-wide created more government agencies to regulate the increasingly complex social, economic and political spheres of human interaction.

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Administrative law in Anglo-American common law countries

Generally speaking, most countries that follow the principles of Anglo-American common law have developed procedures for judicial review that limit the reviewability of decisions made by administrative law bodies. Often these procedures are coupled with legislation or other common law doctrines that establish standards for proper rulemaking.

Administrative law may also apply to review of decisions of so-called quasi-public bodies, such as non-profit corporations, disciplinary boards, and other decision-making bodies that effect the legal rights of members of a particular group or entity.

While administrative decision-making bodies are often controlled by larger governmental units, their decisions could be reviewed by a court of general jurisdiction under some principle of judicial review based upon due process (United States) or fundamental justice (Canada).

The scope of judicial review may be limited to certain questions of fairness, or whether the administrative action is ultra vires. In terms of ultra vires actions in the broad sense, a reviewing court may set aside an administrative decision if it is patently unreasonable (under Canadian law), Wednesbury unreasonable (under British law), or arbitrary and capricious under (U.S. Administrative Procedure Act and New York State law).

The powers to review administrative decisions are usually established by statute, but were originally developed from the royal prerogative writs of English law, such as the writ of mandamus and the writ of certiorari.

Administrative law in the United States

Main Article: American administrative law

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250px-HQFTC.jpg
Administrative law in the United States often relates to, or arises from, so-called "independent agencies"- such as the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"). Here is FTC's headquarters in Washington D.C.

In the United States legal system, many government agencies are organized under the executive branch of government, rather than the judicial or legislative branches. The departments under the control of the executive branch, and their sub-units, are often referred to as executive agencies. The so-called executive agencies can be distinguished from the many important and powerful independent agencies, that are created by statutes enacted by the U.S. Congress.

The actions of executive agencies and independent agencies are the main focus of American administrative law. In response to the rapid creation of new independent agencies in the early twentieth century (see discussion below), Congress enacted the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in 1946. Many of the independent agencies operate as miniature versions of the tripartite federal government, with the authority to "legislate" (through rulemaking), "adjudicate" (through administrative hearings), and to "execute" administrative goals (through agency enforcement personnel). Because the United States Constitution sets no limits on this tripartite authority of administrative agencies, Congress enacted the APA to establish fair administrative law procedures to comply with the requirements of Constitutional due process.

Historical development

In his book, Administrative Law & Regulatory Policy (3d Ed., 1992) (Admin. Law & Reg. Policy ), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer divides the history of administrative law in the United States into six discrete periods:

  • English antecedents & the American experience to 1875
  • 1875 - 1930: the rise of regulation & the traditional model of administrative law
  • The New Deal
  • 1945 - 1965: the Administrative Procedure Act & the maturation of the traditional model of administrative law
  • 1965 - 1985: critique and transformation of the administrative process
  • 1985 - ?: retreat or consolidation

Administrative law in civil law countries

France

In France, most claims against the national or local governments are handled by administrative courts, which use the Conseil d'tat as a court of last resort.

Germany

In Germany, the highest administrative court for most matters is the federal administrative court Bundesverwaltungsgericht. There are federal courts with special judisdiction in the fields of social security law (Bundessozialgericht) and tax law (Bundesfinanzhof). Template:Sect-stubde:Verwaltungsrecht es:Derecho administrativo fr:Droit administratif ja:行政法 nl:Bestuursrecht

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