Federal Administrative Law

The law concerning the powers and procedures of administrative agencies, including the law governing judicial review of administrative action. An administrative agency is a governmental authority, other than a court or legislative body, that affects the rights of private parties through either adjudication, rulemaking, investigating, prosecuting, negotiating, settling, or informally acting.

Administrative Agencies

  • Created by an enabling statute
  • To provide close supervision of an industry or set of practices
  • To handle large volumes of particulary complex cases
  • When significant scientific or other expertise in a field is needed

Administrative Powers

  • Delegated by Congress
  • Types of Actions by Federal Agencies
    • Rules or Regulations: Statements designed to implementation, interpret, or proscribe law or policy
    • Orders: Describe final dispositions of agency matters
    • Licenses: Includes permits, certificates, or other forms of permission
    • Advisory Opinions: Advice regarding contemplated action. Authoritative interpretations of statutes and regulations, although not binding.
    • Decisions: Adjudications of controversies arising from violation or interpretation of statutes, regulations or rules.

Administrative Research Goals

  • Enabling Statute that created the Agency
  • Agency Information
  • Rules, regulations, decisions or other agency documents

Federal Regulations Historical Background

  • Panama Refining Case
  • Federal Register in 1936: Chronological publication of all regulations
  • Code of Federal Regulations in 1939: Regulations organized by subject
  • Administrative Procedure Act in 1946: Public participation in rulemaking process
  • Freedom of Information Act in 1966: Agencies required to publish information on employees, rules, and policies in Federal Register
  • Sunshine Act in 1976: Agencies required to publish notice of meetings in Federal Register
  • Regulatory Flexibility Act in 1980: Agencies required to publish agenda regarding proposed rules

Strategy for Researching Regulations in Print

  • Check CFR Index and Read applicable regulations
  • Check list of applicable regulations in List of Sections Affected: Check most recent pamphlet (Cumulates every month)
  • Check CFR Parts Affected Found in last issue of FR each month (Check every month subsequent to LSA pamphlet)
  • Read applicable FR sections
  • Check Shepard's CFR Citations OR Westlaw KeyCite CFR Citations for Cases, Law Reviews, and ALRs that cite the regulation

Sources of Federal Regulations

Federal Register - organized chronologically

  • Published daily
  • Single volume number for entire year with consecutive pagination
  • Features of Federal Register
    • Table of Contents organized by agency
    • Proposed Rules
    • Notices
    • Sunshine Act Meetings
    • Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations
    • Reader Aids

Code of Federal Regulations - organized by subject

 Information about Federal Agencies

Administrative Decisions

  • Contact Agency
  • Unofficial Sources Looseleafs
  • Westlaw and Lexis for select decisions
  • Updating Shepard's and KeyCite

Presidential Documents

Colorado Administrative Sources

State Administrative Agencies: State of Colorado

Opinions of the Attorney General and Office of Legal Counsel

Colorado Attorney General Opinions

  • Resources > Formal AG Opinions
  • 1984 to present
  • Westlaw or Lexis

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.
- Jimi Hendrix -

Administrative Sources

professor of the practice of law
university of Denver Sturm College of LaW

Debra Austin, JD, PhD