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Federal Administrative Law: Home

This guide serves as an introduction to federal administrative law. It includes research resources on federal agencies, The Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, treatises, administrative decisions and more.


Administrative agencies were created by Congress and given the power to issue rules and regulations which have the same binding effect as statutory law.  Many agencies also have the power to have hearings, and to issue orders, licenses and opinions.  It is the “organization and operation”[1] of these agencies which is the study of administrative law.   In Administrative Law and Practice, Charles Koch uses the following analogy:  “Administrative law is to labor law, securities regulation and tax what civil procedure is to contracts, torts and commercial law.  Administrative law is the way government institutions do things.” [2]  This research guide will review the sources of administrative law which are available in print, on-line and on the web.

This research guide was prepared by Irene M. Crisci, J.D., M.S.

[1] Black’s Law Dictionary 51 (9th ed. 2009).

[2] Charles H. Koch, Administrative Law and Practice  §1.2 at 2 (2d ed. 1997).

How Rules Are Made

Agencies must publish every proposed or revised regulation in the Federal Register and give the public a chance to comment on them.  After comments are received, hearings take place. Interested parties can comment and show either their support or opposition to the proposed regulation.  The regulation may be revised many times, and each time the process of calling for public comments and hearing starts anew.  The final version of the regulation will appear in the Federal Register and may become effective at a date in the future or as soon as it is published.  Because the rule may be effective before the next time the C.F.R. is published, the researcher must check both the C.F.R. and the Federal Register when researching federal regulations.  Agency websites can also be checked as they often include regulations that are pending or have have recently become effective.

Subject Guide