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Administrative Law: Statutes & Practice Guides

A guide to researching Administrative Law for law students, bar examinees, and other library patrons



Federal Register — The daily newspaper of the Federal government is a legal newspaper published every business day by the National Archives and Records Administration containing Federal Agency Regulations, Proposed Rules and Public Notices, Executive Orders, Proclamations, and other Presidential Papers.

The Federal Register can be accessed online at


Administrative-Law Judge — Also known as an ALJ, an official who presides at an administrative hearing and who has the power to administer oaths, take testimony, rule on questions of evidence, and make factual and legal determinations.

Operative Construction — The doctrine that the interpretation of a statute or regulation made by an administrative agency charged with enforcing it is entitled to judicial deference unless it is arbitrary and capricious.

Notice-and-Comment Period — The statutory time frame during which an administrative agency publishes a proposed regulation and receives public comment on the regulation. The regulation cannot take effect until after this period expires.

Exhaustion of Remedies —The doctrine that, if an administrative remedy is provided by statute, a claimant must seek relief first from the administrative body before judicial relief is available. The doctrine's purpose is to maintain comity between the courts and administrative agencies and to ensure that courts will not be burdened by cases in which judicial relief is unnecessary.

Substantial-Evidence Rule — The principle that a reviewing court should uphold an administrative body's ruling if it is supported by evidence on which the administrative body could reasonably base its decision.

Sunshine Committee — An official or quasi-official committee whose proceedings and work are open to public access.

Informal Agency Action — Administrative-agency activity other than adjudication or rulemaking, such as investigation, publicity, or supervision.

Zones of Interest —The class or type of interests or concerns that a statute or constitutional guarantee is intended to regulate or protect. To have standing to challenge a ruling (esp. of an administrative agency), the plaintiff must show that the specific injury suffered comes within the zone of interests protected by the statute on which the ruling was based.

All definitions are from Black's Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009).


Administrative Law Guide: Sponsored by The Law Library of Congress, this website serves as a starting point for researching federal regulatory law and includes a link to a listing of agencies and their contact information. On this website you can submit your comments on proposed regulations and related documents published by the U.S. Federal government, as well as search and review original regulatory documents as well as comments submitted by others.

Code of Federal Regulations:  Here you can find the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) going back to 1996. The CFR is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

Federal Register: The Office of the Federal Register of the National Archives and Records Administration and the U.S. Government Printing Office jointly developed this unofficial, HTML edition of the daily Federal Register in an easier to read format with extensive navigation aids, various web tools and user aids,  and links to related material, such as the Code of Federal Regulations and the United States Code.

Practice Guides