Administrative law is the body of law governing the authority, procedures, and acts of public agencies and officials. Administrative actions include the issuance of rules and regulations, the granting and revocation of licenses, the investigation of violations and complaints, and the initiation of enforcement actions against persons to compel them to pay fines and conform their conduct to the law.
Administrative law matters are sometimes resolved through hearings in which an administrative law judge with quasi-judicial powers will adjudicate a dispute and issue findings of fact and conclusions of law. These hearings are referred to as "contested-case hearings" in many jurisdictions and function similar to a trial in a normal court. Unlike an ordinary court, however, some hearings may hearings result in the administrative law judge issuing recommendations, which the relevant administrative agency can choose to adopt, amend, or reject.
Legislatures frequently grant administrative agencies the power to issue regulations regarding the laws the legislature has passed. In essence, the legislature asks the agency to flesh out the statutes that they have passed, often because the agency has special expertise or knowledge that the legislature lacks. But an agency's rulemaking authority is not unlimited. Often the agency will be required to solicit comments from the public regarding proposed regulations. An agency's failure to provide notice and opportunity to be heard or to adequately consider the information it obtains can open the door for the rulemaking proceeding to be challenged and potentially struck down in court.
Our attorneys have significant experience representing clients in state and federal administrative proceedings. We can help manage and resolve the complex issues that arise when individuals and business find themselves facing a regulatory problem. Matters we can handle include: