Debra Austin, JD, PhD

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

Administrative Sources

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 -