Administrative law is the body of law governed by administrative agencies and often heard before an administrative law judge. Generally speaking, administrative law usually relates to the issuance, suspension, or revocation of some type of government issued license or benefit. Each administrative agency is empowered, within certain legislative confines, to promulgate their own rules and regulations. In Maryland, these regulations are codified in COMAR, the Code of Maryland Administrative Regulations.
While administrative decision-making bodies are often controlled by larger governmental units, their decisions can be reviewed by the Circuit Court under the principles of judicial review and due process.
Administrative hearings are often informal, yet very important. Usually, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) meets with representatives from the agency and the applicant seeking licensure or benefits. The applicant may choose to be or not be represented by an attorney. Each side presents its evidence and elicits testimony from its witnesses. The hearing is often tape recorded, as opposed to taken down by a court reporter. The ALJ renders a decision called an administrative order, which may be reviewed by either a higher level within the agency or by a court.
Administrative law is much broader than hearings and legal counsel should be sought early in any process, even for such seemingly simple matters such as applying for a license or benefit. Generally, administrative law matters adhere to strict timelines and challenges to agency determinations can go unheard merely because of these deadlines. If you think you need help, you are encouraged to act quickly.