Over the last several years the number of federal, state, and local administrative agencies has significantly increased. The duties and powers of these agencies have also expanded. An administrative action arises out of a controversy between a private person or entity and a government agency.
Administrative agencies are part of the executive branch of government, but they combine in one agency the rule making authority of the legislature, the enforcement authority of the executive branch, and the sanctioning authority of the judiciary.
The powers afforded an agency typically arise from a general legislative statute giving it the authority to promulgate and enforce regulations to carry out its function. For example, the function of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect the environment. Each administrative agency has its own rules and regulations that it enforces. These rules include procedures for disciplining or taking action against those subject to the oversight of the agency. These procedures are usually less formal than those that govern civil or criminal actions and typically do not entitle parties to the discovery and evidentiary rules that come with a civil or criminal action. Although, most administrative decisions are subject to review by state or federal courts.
Administrative agencies have the power to levy significant sanctions, including preventing a person or business from continuing operation. The rules and regulations applicable to administrative agencies can be unique and complex and stakes of disciplinary action can be high. Employing experienced and effective counsel is the first step in protecting yourself.