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A closer look at the sometimes mystifying area of administrative law

Thanks to everything from nightly news broadcasts and online media outlets to popular television shows and films, most people have a general understanding of how the legal system works in many areas and what to anticipate should they find themselves somehow involved in the process. For example, most people are familiar with how a divorce typically works, the issues it will decide and the forums in which it can be resolved.

Interestingly enough, however, there is at least one area of the law with which most people are not just unfamiliar, but may not know even exists: administrative law. This is significant, of course, as it is an area of the law that affects many aspects of their personal and professional lives.

Administrative law is essentially the body of law covering the formation and operation of administrative agencies, and how their exercise of power relates to the legislative and judicial branches, as well as the general public.  

Breaking it down further, administrative law covers two core components:

  • The powers granted to administrative agencies by statute and the establishment of rules relating to these powers
  • The substantive body of law created by administrative agencies via rules, regulations or opinions

As to the everyday functions of administrative agencies, at either the state or federal level they are tasked with everything from implementing and executing the laws passed by the legislature affecting nearly every industry to regulating the payment of benefits. By way of example, consider the State Medical Board of Ohio or the Social Security Administration.

It's important to understand that in order to ensure that these federal and state agencies act within constitutional parameters, and with both uniformity and transparency in their actions, they are covered by laws expressly limiting their reach and establishing a comprehensive regulatory scheme. By way of example, consider the Federal Administrative Procedure Act or the Ohio Administrative Procedure Act.

Here's hoping the foregoing information has helped shed some light on this complex area of the law.

Those with questions or concerns relating to any administrative law issue should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can provide answers and pursue solutions.

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