Administrative Law

What is Administrative Law

An administrative law is a law that governs administrative actions. According to Ivor Jennings- Administrative laws are relating to administration. It determines the organization, powers and functions of the authorities. Also, it includes the law relating to the powers of law enforcement agencies, the quasi judicial function of administrative bodies, the legal liabilities of government officials and the powers of ordinary courts to administer it’s authorities. It manages the executive and ensures that the executive treats the community fairly.

Administrative law is a branch of public law. It talks about human relations with government. Also, it determines the organization and structure of the executive and quasi-judicial authority to enforce the law. It is more concerned with legal actions and procedures. Thus, It sets a regulatory framework where administrative agencies reside within borders.

However, administrative law is not a systematize law. It is a law regulate by the judges that arose later.

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Administrative law deals with the powers of the authorities. The use of such power for remedies for persons affect by such law, etc. The administrative process is consider a necessary evil in all developing communities, especially in the Social Welfare Government. Such process may infringe on the rights of citizens of the country. Lord Denning said, that the proper function of the new powers of the executive leads to a welfare state, but when it is refuse, leads to a dictatorial state.


  • Evolution in India

The Mauryans and Guptas of ancient India had consolidate Administrative system. It was with the arrival of the British that administrative law in India passed a few changes. Laws governing administrative actions were pass during British India.

After independence, India took the position of a socialist state, which expand state functions. As the functions and powers of Government and administrative authorities increase so does the need for the ‘Rule of Law’ and the ‘Judicial Review of State Actions’.

Hence, if the laws, regulations and orders pass by the administrative authorities were consider to be beyond the power of the legislature. Then those laws, rules and regulations are says as ultra-vires, unconstitutional, illegal and void.

  • Evolution in England

In 1885, a British jurist, Albert Venn Dicey, disapprove the whole idea of ​​administrative law. Therefore, many of the legal powers of jurisdiction given to managers and administrative authorities. The control over all of them are ignore in order to create a separate branch of law by legal thinkers. Until the 20th century, administrative law are not be recognize as a separate branch of law. It was only later that the existence of administrative law were acknowledge.

Lord Donoughmore Committee, during 1929, suggest a better publication and manage of subordinate rules. The principle, The King could not do wrong, was terminate and the scope of the administrative law was extend through the Crown Procedure Act of 1947. It allow for the start of civil litigation against any State as an individual.

In 1958, the Courts and Inquiries Act were enact to better regulate and monitor Administrative Decisions.

Breen v Amalgamated Engineering Union 1971, was the first case in which the rule of law in the United Kingdom was declared.

  • Evolution in United State of America

In the United States of America, the existence of administrative law and its growth are being ignore until it grow into a fourth branch of the State. During that time many legal scholars such as, Frank Goodnow and Ernst Freund were author of books on Administrative Law.

It was in 1933 that a special committee was appoint to decide how the administration of justice will work out. Subsequently, in 1946 the Administrative procedure act was came into the force which provided for legal control over administrative actions.

Difference between Administrative Law and Constitutional Law

There is a big difference between administrative law and constitutional law.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. There is no law beyond the constitution so you must satisfy its provisions and not violate it. Administrative law is therefore subject to constitutional law. In other words, while the Constitution is a genus, the administrative law is a strain.

The Constitution deals with the structure of the State and its various structures. Administrative law, on the other hand, only applies to administration.

Although the Constitution applies to all legal entities and deals with common principles relating to the planning and powers of the various organs of State. It applies only to the powers and duties of administrative authorities.

At present the authorities must first follow to the Constitution and then act, in accordance with the law of governance.

Importance of Administrative Law

Administrative law plays a key role in transforming the administrative system. Let’s understand with the help of the following points:

  1. Transforming the State: The Police Service transform itself into a Welfare State in the 20th century. The traditional functions of the State namely the protection and administration of justice have undergone a great transformation. The State has taken various measures to benefit the people of the 20th century.
  2. Removing the Errors of the Justice System: The judicial system seems inadequate to resolve all types of disputes. It was slow, expensive, complex, and had various other obstacles that led to the development of an important administrative law.
  3. Eliminate Legal Process Inadequacies: The legal system cannot set detail rules and regulations for the operation of the State. Thus, administrative law helps to eliminate this issue.
  4. Transformation in Social Life: The social sector has undergone significant changes among the citizens of the State. Additional laws were important to deal with the complexities of everyday life of citizens.
  5. Increasing Demand from People: Just stating the rights of citizens was not enough, but solving their problem was important for Government.
  6. Improve the Scope of Experiment: The current legislative process is time consuming and cannot address all social issues. Therefore, a separate element of law-making is important.
  7. Preventive Measures: Authorities administer and implement preventive measures such as licensing liquor stores, pricing adjustments, etc.
  8. National Economy: The administrative authorities formulate national policies and programs to achieve the objectives set out in the Constitution of India.
  9. Regulatory measures: Administrative authorities apply control measures in relation to industrial production, production, and distribution of important assets.
  10. Industry: Industrial construction leads to various labor problems. Administrative equipment help to solve such problems.


The administrative law governs the executive council. It regulates its operations and protects the common citizen from any abuse of power exercise by the Executive Council or any of its body. A new legal entity that has evolve over time and that will continue to evolve according to the changing needs of society. The purpose of administrative law is not to remove the discretionary power of the executive but to bring it into line with the ‘rule of law’.


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