Regulatory Law deals with procedures established by federal, state, and local administrative agencies, as opposed to laws created by the legislature (statutory laws) or by court decisions (case law). Regulations can relate to a large array of executive branch activities, such as applications for licenses, oversight of environmental laws, and administration of social services like welfare, just to name a few.
Functions of Administrative Law
Also known as administrative law, regulatory laws can include everything from rulemaking to adjudication and enforcement. In other words, administrative laws often relate to functions akin to all three branches of government (i.e., legislative, judicial, and executive), but all of them flow from agencies that are considered to be a part of the executive branch. To demonstrate how regulatory law is often like three branches of government in one, consider how administrative laws usually come into being:
1. The legislative branch passes a law authorizing the creation of a new executive branch agency to enforce a set of laws (for example, the Environmental Protection Agency in order to enforce certain environmental clean up and preservation laws).
2. The statute authorizes the agency to pass regulations to meet the goals of its mandate and to enforce its rules. Thus the legislative rulemaking authority is delegated, in part, to the administrative agency.
3. The agency enacts regulations (sometimes they require legislative approval, sometimes they do not), then begins to enforce those rules (e.g., through fining or arrests). The enforcement of laws is a traditionally executive function.
4. The agency may also have procedures for hearings, and the results of those proceedings can become precedent on agency policies. These hearings are akin to the trial procedures for the judicial branch.
While administrative agencies are still a part of the executive branch and are still checked by the other two branches of government, their regulations and enforcement schema often resemble their own subsystem of government, inclusive of functions for all three branches. Consequently, when discussing any law that may be administered by an agency, it is important to look not just to the statutory law or the case law, but also to any regulatory rules and decisions related to that matter. Failing to do so may amount to overlooking an enormous portion of the body of law affecting that topic.
Non Executive Branch Agencies
Not all regulatory law flows from the executive branch. The U.S. Congress has also created several judicial bodies called Article I tribunals. These tribunals have different levels of independence from the executive and legislative branches, and serve functions such as reviewing agency decisions, military courts-martial appeal courts, ancillary courts with judges appointed by judicial branch appeals court judges, or administrative agencies.
Article I tribunals are often controversial and their power has frequently been challenged before the United States Supreme Court. So far, the Supreme Court has supported the existence of Article I tribunals, but has held that their power must be limited and, when a potential deprivation of life, liberty, or property is at stake, their decisions will normally be subject to review by a judicial branch court.
For more information about regulatory laws, please visit the resources listed below. Additionally, should you have a specific question or need assistance from an attorney, you can find one in your area by visiting our Law Firms page.
Regulatory Law - US
- ABA - Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section
The Administrative Law Section serves its members, the bar and the public at-large, by providing a congenial forum to share new ideas and the most recent information on substantive and procedural developments in Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.
- Administrative Procedure Act (APA)
The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (P.L. 79-404) is the United States federal law that governs the way in which administrative agencies of the federal government of the United States may propose and establish regulations. The APA also sets up a process for the United States federal courts to directly review agency decisions. It is one of the most important pieces of United States administrative law.
- National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary (NAALJ)
NAALJ, a nonprofit corporation founded in Illinois in 1974, is the largest professional organization devoted exclusively to administrative adjudication within the executive branch of government. Its voting members exercise a broad subject matter jurisdiction and include state, federal, and local administrative law judges, administrative judges, hearing officers, referees, trial examiners, agency chairs, commissioners, and appellate authorities.
- Regulatory Law - Definition
Regulatory laws are procedures created by administrative agencies (governmental bodies of the city, county, state or Federal government) involving rules, regulations, applications, licenses, permits, available information, hearings, appeals and decision-making. Federal agency procedures are governed by the Administrative Procedure Act, and many states have adopted similar procedural formats either by law or regulation.
State Regulatory Commissions / Public Service Commissions
Organizations Related to Regulatory Law
- Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank — dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.
- Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE)
The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) was established in 1996, after the passage of the Congressional Review Act, to provide Congress with independent analyses of agency regulations. From this initial organizing concept, CRE has grown into a nationally recognized clearinghouse for methods to improve the federal regulatory process.
- National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA)
The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. Our goal is to develop and promote private, free-market alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector.
- National Center for Public Policy Research
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today's public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.
- Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is located within the Office of Management and Budget and was created by Congress with the enactment of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (PRA). OIRA carries out several important functions, including reviewing Federal regulations, reducing paperwork burdens, and overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs.
RAND focuses on the issues that matter most such as health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, the environment, and more. With a research staff consisting of some of the world's preeminent minds, RAND has been expanding the boundaries of human knowledge for more than 60 years. As a nonpartisan organization, RAND is widely respected for operating independent of political and commercial pressures.
Regulations.gov is your online source for U.S. government regulations from nearly 300 federal agencies.
Publications Related to Regulatory Law
- Journal of Regulation
Regulation can be defined as a set of mechanisms, rules, institutions, decisions and principles that allow certain sectors of the economy to grow and maintain equilibriums that they could not establish solely via their own economic strength.
- OIRA - Regulatory Matters
Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, OIRA reviews all collections of information by the Federal Government. OIRA also develops and oversees the implementation of government-wide policies in several areas, including information quality and statistical standards. In addition, OIRA reviews draft regulations under Executive Order 12866.
Articles on HG.org Related to Regulatory Law
- Railroad Industry Safety Under ScrutinyThe Association of American Railroads claim stating 2014 was “the safest year on record for the railroad industry” is under scrutiny by train safety advocates. Five train accidents, including the catastrophic Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, have occurred this year.
- What Does the FDA DoIf you have ever looked at a warning label on food or medicine, you may have noticed something that said “FDA Warning,” or “The FDA requires.” But what is the FDA, what does it do, and how does it enforce its rules?
- California's Loss of Tesla's $6 Billion Battery FactoryA question of free market vs. government over-regulation to address the issue of environmental sustainability.
- Collecting on a Supreme Court Judgment in CaliforniaIt is often said that obtaining a judgment in a California Supreme Court civil case is only half of the process. Once you obtain judgment, you have official proof you won the case and that the defendant owes you money or property. Now you have to collect.
- Dust Up Between Surfers and Kholsa Could Spell the End of Private Beach Access in CaliforniaShould a property owner have to get a coastal development permit before he can close the gate to his private property? The Surfrider Foundation thinks so, and if it wins its current lawsuit against Vinod Khosla that could soon be the law of the land in California.
- The Supreme Court’s Decision in Susan B Anthony List v Driehaus -a Victory for Civil Rights PlaintiffsSay that you need a permit to pursue your chosen occupation, but you believe that the costly administrative procedure to acquire said permit is unconstitutional. You have been ticketed for operating without a permit, and have every reason to believe that you will be ticketed again, but you have yet to be arrested and thrown in jail. Can you bring a suit alleging the law to be unconstitutional, or do you first have to be arrested or submit to the costly permit procedure before you can sue?
- The Situation with Clive Bundy in Nevada Shows the True Cost of Government RegulationsTo say that the situation in Nevada between federal officials and cattle rancher Clive Bundy has gotten out of hand would be an understatement.
- The Coastal Commission’s support for AB 976 Shows Due Process ApathyEvery monthly meeting the California Coastal Commission releases a list of bills in the current legislative session that it is supporting. It can be a time consuming effort to review all these bills, but sometimes you find a gem that sheds light on the nature of the Commission’s long-term goals, and the read becomes worth it. Last week, the Commission’s monthly report was well worth the read.
- Taxpayer Standing Can Provide a Bulwark Against Government Overreach in CaliforniaIn California any taxpayer can bring a lawsuit to stop the implementation of a law that she believes is unconstitutional provided that she is a resident taxpayer of the area affected and public funds will be spent to implement the challenged law.
- Disagreement About Handling of California Caregiver Abuse CasesLong -term care advocates and officials disagreed at a recent Assembly hearing.
- All Government Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Government including: administrative law, case law, election and political law, federal law, government contracts, local, municipal and state law, military law, public law, regulatory law, US federal courts.