Administrative Law: General Overview

Treatises provide an excellent starting point to identify the issues and leading primary materials.

  • Alfred C. Aman, Administrative Law (West Hornbook, 2d. ed.) Reserve KF5402 .A8 2001
  • Kenneth Culp Davis & Richard Pierce, Administrative Law Treatise (3 vols.) (5th ed.) KF5402 .D315 2010. Recognized as the leading work on the topic.
  • William F. Fox, Jr., Understanding Administrative Law (5th ed.) KF5402 .F68 2008.
  • Ernest Gellhorn & Ronald M. Levin, Administrative Law and Process in a Nutshell (4th ed.) Reserve KF5402 .G318 1997.
  • Peter L. Strauss, Administrative Justice in the United States (2d ed.) KF5402 .S87 2002. Explores themes in administrative law such as due process and fair hearing.
  • John W. Willis, Administrative Law, Third Series (also known as Pike and Fischer Administrative Law) KF5401.A56 P54. A current awareness, digest, citator, and reporter system containing decisions of the regulatory agencies concerning procedural aspects of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Other administrative law books can be found in the General Collection at the call number range KF5402 - KF5411 on Level 2.


Congress transfers legislative authority to agencies under the delegation doctrine, which can be a broad or specific grant of power. Rulemaking is one of the main mechanisms through which agencies act. Administrative rules, also referred to interchangeably as regulations, are adopted by agencies and are considered primary legal authority.

The process of rulemaking is governed by the Administrative Procedure Act. Generally, the APA requires a process that includes publication of the proposed rules, a period for comments and participation in the decisionmaking, and adoption and publication of the final rule. See 5 U.S.C. § 553. This is known as "notice and comment" or "informal" rulemaking (i.e., informal in comparison with the more complex process required for laws made by Congress).

For more information on the rulemaking process, see the following titles:

  • Cornelius M. Kerwin, Rulemaking: How Government Agencies Write Law and Make Policy (4th ed.) KF 5411 .K47 2011
  • Jeffrey F. Lubbers, A Guide to Federal Agency Rulemaking (4th ed.)
    KF 5411 .L83 2006

Empirical vs. Review Articles

Know the difference between empirical and review articles.

Empirical article
An empirical (research) article reports methods and findings of an original research study conducted by the authors of the article.  This is what one looks like.

Review article
A review article discusses a number of past research studies on a given topic.