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Legal Research Guide: Administrative Law

Federal Administrative Law

 

Federal administrative law wordle imageAdministrative or regulatory law is comprised of the rules and regulations promulgated by administrative agencies. Each agency has a particular area of responsibility established by statute, meaning that their power is delegated by Congress.  Pursuant to those directives, agencies promulgate regulations which specify how laws will be implemented and enforced.

 

 

  • The two primary functions of administrative agencies are rulemaking and enforcement (adjudication).  Rulemaking requirements, hearing procedures, and adjudicatory standards for administrative agencies are established by the Administrative Procedure Act.  Since all agency power is derived from the enabling statute, this is the best source to initially consult to determine agency scope and type of regulations promulgated (legislative, interpretive, or procedural).

 

  • Legislative rules: Have the same force as statutes and are binding law.
  • Interpretive rules: As the name implies, these interpret legislation and rules. While not technically law, they are given notable deference by the courts.
  • Procedural rules: These establish both the informal and formal manner in which agencies must conduct activities.

 

There are two primary sources for federal administrative law.  Federal rules and regulations are first published in the Federal Register.  Then, upon being codified, they are published in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.).

Federal Administrative Law Sources
Publication/Material Type

Description

Federal Register

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Federal Register book

The Federal Register is the daily newspaper (published by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of the federal government.  It contains federal agency regulations, proposed rules and public notices, executive orders, proclamations, other presidential documents, and government news.

Citation Example: Federal Acquisition Regulations for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 55 Fed. Reg. 52,782 (Dec. 21, 1990)(to be codified at 48 C.F.R.pt.1). 

The number 50 refers to the volume, 52,782 is the first page on which the rule or regulation begins, and Dec. 21, 1990 is the date of the rule or regulation. If the Federal Register indicates where the rule or regulation will appear in the Code of Federal Regulations, indicate that information parenthetically. For more information, see Rule 14 of The Bluebook: "Administrative and Executive Materials."

Code of Federal Regulations

 

 

 

 

 

Code of Federal Regulations book

The Code of Federal Regulations is a codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government.  The C.F.R. is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation.  Updates to the CFR that occur between annual publications can be located using the List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA) AE 2.106/2: and the Federal Register.

Citation Example: 7 C.F.R. § 319.16 (1999).

The number 7 refers to the C.F.R. title number, 319.16 is the cited section number, and 1999 is the date of code edition cited.  For more information, see Rule 14 of The Bluebook: "Administrative and Executive Materials."

Presidential and Executive Branch Materials

All regulations issued by the Executive Office of the President and executive orders and proclamations are published in the Federal Register and Title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations. In addition, a daily publication of presidential documents appears in the the Compilation of Presidential Documents at FDsys.  Presidential materials can also be found at www.whitehouse.gov, www.archives.gov (Public Papers of the President) and in Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents.

Where to Find Federal Administrative and Regulatory Laws

 

  • Federal Register: In print: AE 2:106/: (Government Documents Room) or online at FDsys , Westaw under the Federal Materials tab, or HeinOnline (link below)

 

  • Code of Federal Regulations: In Print: AE 2: 106/3: (Government Documents Room) or online at FDsys, Westlaw under the Federal Materials tab, or HeinOnline. The CFR Index and finding aids are also available in print in the Government Documents Room.
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Texas Administrative Law

Texas administrative law wordle image

Similarly to Federal Administrative law, Texas administrative law is comprised of the rules and regulations promulgated by Texas administrative agencies. These agencies are delegated power by the Texas State Legislature to act as agents for the executive and determine how Texas laws will be instituted and enforced. The agencies derive their power specifically from Title II, III, and IV of the Texas Government Code.

 

  • The two primary functions of administrative agencies are rulemaking and enforcement (adjudication).  Rulemaking requirements, hearing procedures, and adjudicatory standards for administrative agencies are established by the Texas Administrative Procedure Act.   Since all agency power is derived from the enabling statute, this is the best source to initially consult to determine agency scope and type of regulations promulgated (legislative, interpretative, or procedural).

     

    • Legislative rules: Have the same force as statutes and are binding law.
    • Interpretative rules: As the name implies, these interpret legislation and rules. While not technically law, they are given notable deference by the courts.
    • Procedural rules: These establish both the informal and formal manner in which agencies must conduct activities.

 There are two primary sources for Texas administrative law.  Texas rules and regulations are first published in the Texas Register. The Texas Register is a weekly publication which records state agency rule making and review actions, governor's appointments, attorney general opinions, requests for proposals, and other miscellaneous documents.  Then upon being codified, they are published in the Texas Administrative Code (Tex. Admin. Code).

Texas Administrative Law Sources
Publication Description
Texas Register The Texas Register is a weekly publication which records state agency rule making and review actions, governor's appointments, attorney general opinions, requests for proposals, and other miscellaneous documents. The Texas register serves a journal of state agency rulemaking in Texas.
Texas Administrative Code

The Texas Register is the codification of all the state agency rules in Texas.  There are sixteen titles.  There are gaps in teh numbering of the titles.  The tittles are as follows:

  • Title 1: Agency Administration
  • Title 4: Agriculture
  • Title 7:  Banking and Securities
  • Title 10:  Community Development
  • Title 13:  Cultural Resources
  • Title 16:  Economic Regulation
  • Title 19:  Education
  • Title 22:  Examining Boards
  • Title 25: Health Services
  • Title 28:  Insurance
  • Title 30:  Environmental Quality
  • Title 31:  Natural Resources and Conservation
  • Title 34:  Public Finance
  • Title 37:  Public Safety and Corrections
  • Title 40: Social Service and Assistance
  • Title 43:  Transportation​  

Texas Administrative Code

Where to Find Texas Administrative and Regulatory Laws

 

1.)     Texas Register: Online only at

 

 

 

2.)     Texas Administrative Code:

 

  • Online: Westlaw under the State Materials tab>Texas>Texas Regulations

 or

 

  • Texas Administrative Law Handbook: Produced by the Texas Attorney General, handbook primarily discusses the Administrative Procedure Act. It covers adjudication, rulemaking, judicial review of each type of action, and enforcement of agency orders and rules. It also discusses the attorney general’s role as the state’s legal representative. The last section captioned "Open Government," contains a brief discussion of the Public Information Act and the Open Meetings Act.

 

 

 

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Administrative Law in Other States

1.)     The primary database for administrative law research in other states through Westlaw.

  • Go to Westlaw and select the State Materials tab.

 

  • Chose the state you wish to research, then choose the link immediately below Regulations. This will provide you with the state administrative code which includes the full text of state agency rules and regulations.  Authority notes show statutes under which the adopting agency derives its power to adopt sections which appear in the code.  Source notes indicate effective dates and initial adoption/amendments.

2.)     Another source for state administrative law is the websites of state agencies and state legislatures.  These typically provide links to administrative codes and regulatory material as well as other resources.  In addition, Secretary of State websites often provide regulatory and administrate documents as well.

 

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Dianna Kim
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