We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Regulatory Law?

By Pablo Garcia
Updated Jan 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Regulatory law is a part of administrative law and consists of the rules and regulations set out by administrative agencies. In the US, the authority of these agencies is delegated to them by Congress on the federal level and by the state legislatures of the various US jurisdictions at the state level. The two principal functions of administrative agencies are rulemaking and regulatory enforcement, also called "adjudication." Administrative agencies have their own courts and judges.

In 1789, Congress began using regulatory agencies and laws to administer customs, trade, and the issuance of veteran’ benefits. As the government grew, the task of regulating industries and addressing the many concerns of society became too difficult for Congress alone to administer. It began to delegate its authority to administrative agencies in certain areas. The theory was that experts within a given industry were better suited to devise and implement the rules governing those industries. Administrative law today encompasses a large number of administrative agencies, each governing a particular industry or area of public concern.

Administrative agencies have regulatory commissions that create regulatory law and enforce compliance with it. They also set and enforce industry standards. Some examples of regulatory commissions operating under the authority of Congress are the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Agriculture. Most federal administrative agencies have counterparts at the state level. Most other countries as well have some form of administrative agencies, regardless of their type of government.

Regulatory law has the same force as laws enacted by Congress or a state legislature. Many private companies have their own personnel whose task it is to ensure that the companies comply with state and federal regulations. The US Government tries to ensure that the public knows and has access to federal regulations. On 18 January 2011, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order instructing all federal administrative agencies with regulatory authority to make their compliance and enforcement procedures available and downloadable online.

Most regulatory law is not found in statutes. Instead, it is published in the Congressional Federal Register (CFR). The National Archives and Records Administration compiles the CFR. It can be found in law school and university libraries and some larger public libraries.

The Government also makes CFR rules and regulations available online. The online version of the CFR is not considered official legislation but is updated daily. Each state has its own compilation of state administrative rules and procedure.

Administrative law courts adjudicate disputes between regulatory agencies and businesses, organizations, and individuals. Hearings are conducted by an administrative law judge, who is usually employed by the regulatory body. Administrative law courts must act within the bounds of the Constitution and federal and state statutes.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Logicfest — On Oct 16, 2014

@Terrificli -- Sure, there is a lot of federal bureaucracy and regulations to deal with, but what else should we expect? We demand more and more out of the government and those folks in Congress don't have time to micromanage every little function of the the federal bureaucracy.

Huge programs like Social Security must be supported with a huge bureaucracy. They couldn't function otherwise.

Unless you want to strip down the government so it is little more than a shadowy entity that provides the military, makes sure the roads are maintained and does some other limited things, you will need federal agencies and their regulations to provide those services we expect.

By Terrificli — On Oct 15, 2014

The scary thing is that there is a lot more regulatory law out there than statutory law. That's right. Unelected bureaucrats have more power over certain aspects of our lives than Congress. When people talk about big government getting out of hand, the vast number of regulatory agencies and the power delegated to them are part of the alleged problem.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.