Administrative law focuses on the exercise of government authority by the executive branch and its agencies. These agencies are created by Congress through enabling legislation and are authorized to promulgate regulations which have the same force and effect as statutory law. Agencies also have the power to adjudicate disputes arising out of agency actions. However, their actions must comply with the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 USC §551 et seq.
Administrative law research can be complex due to the multiple functions of federal agencies. They act somewhat like legislatures through the rulemaking process, and somewhat like courts through the enforcement and litigation of these rules. As a result, administrative law research involves a broad spectrum of materials: from proposed regulations, to presidential orders, to the opinions of administrative law judges. This research guide will explain these administrative law materials and where to locate them in print and online.
Agencies also exist at the state and local levels of government. State agencies must comply with the state's Administrative Procedure Act. The Maine Administrative Procedure Act can be found at 5 MRSA §8001 et. seq. This research guide will also describe the administrative materials used in Maine and where to find these resources. Finally, this guide will explain how to locate the ordinances for Maine's cities and towns.