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5 Questions Answered to Understand Regulatory Law

Regulatory Law

What is Regulatory Law?

Regulatory law is a fundamental aspect of administrative law and is comprised of the rules and regulations set out by various administrative agencies. In the United States, the authority attached to these agencies is delegated by Congress on the federal level and by state legislatures of various jurisdictions at the local level.

The predominant functions of these administrative agencies encompass regulatory enforcement, known as “adjudication” and general rulemaking. As a result of these specific and niche-based functions, an administrative agency will possess its own court system and judges.

The Formation of Regulatory Law:

In the late 18th century, the United States Congress began using regulatory agencies and its coordinating laws to administer trade, the issuance of veteran benefits and customs. As the Federal Government of the United States expanded, the task of regulating the various industries, along with addressing the general concerns of society, became too arduous for Congress to regulate alone. As a result of the expanding regulatory needs, Congress delegated its authority to administrative agencies throughout the nation. The work was transferred, in theory, to apply experts within a given industry to better devise and implement laws to regulate the underlying industries. Regulatory law, through this expedited organizational method, now encompasses a plethora of administrative agencies, with each governing a particular industry or area of public concern.

Administrative Agencies and Regulatory Law:

Administrative agencies possess regulatory commissions that are responsible for creating regulatory law to subsequently enforce compliance. An administrative agency will also set and enforce industry standards; these standards act as protocol for the accompanying manufacturers or entities within the specific industry.

An example of a commission within regulatory law that operates under the authority of the United States Congress is the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The majority of Federal administrative agencies that institute various authoritative powers within regulatory law possess counterparts at the state level.

Where can I find a list of Regulatory Laws?

The majority of regulatory law is not found in statute, but instead, published in the Congressional Federal Register. This registry is compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration and can be found in any law school library, as well as many larger public libraries.

The United States Federal Government also publishes the Congressional Federal Register--and the coordinating rules and regulations within the CFR—online. The Internet version of the CFR is not considered formal legislation; however, the composite is updated daily. In addition, each state possesses its own compilation of state administrative procedure and rules.

Administrative Law Courts:

An administrative law court will adjudicate disputes between regulatory agencies and organizations, individuals and businesses. Hearings in an administrative court are conducted by an administrative law judge, who is employed by the underlying regulatory body. All administrative law courts, must act within the bounds of the United States Constitution and the coordinating federal and state statutes.

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