Meaning and function of administrative law

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Administrative Law can be defined as the law relating to public administration. It is the law relating to the performance, management and execution of public affairs and duties.
Administrative law is concerned with the way in which the Government carries out its functions.

Administration is the act or process of administering, which simply means it is the act of meting out, dispensing, managing, supervising and executing government functions

It is the law relating to control of governmental power. It can also be said to be the body of general principles, which govern the exercise of powers and duties public authorities.

The primary purpose of administrative law, therefore, is to keep the powers of government within their legal bounds, so as to protect the citizen against their abuse.
Administrative law is also concerned with the administration and dispensation of delivery of public services. However it does not include policy making.

Administrative law is concerned with how the government carries out its tasks.
The government tasks include delivery of public services such as health, security, facilitating trade, arbitration of disputes, and collection of revenue.

Administrative law is the law relating to the executive branch of government. The law deals with a variety of things e.g.

i. The establishment of public authorities e.g. the city council, establishment of public bodies and organs.
ii. The nature of the tasks given to various public organs and public agencies.
iii. The legal relationship between the public bodies themselves and also between the public agencies and the public and between public agencies and the citizens.

Administrative Law is concerned with the means which the powers and duties of the various public agencies, public bodies and public institutes can be controlled.

FUNCTIONS OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
Administrative functions can be divided into a number of broad categories namely

1. Ministerial functions; Examples of Ministerial Functions are those functions carried out or performed Government Ministers in their implementation of governmental policies and programs. Examples include appointment of public officials Ministers and the grant of ministerial approvals and consents.

2. Administrative functions: these are the functions carried out public officials and public bodies in their management of various governmental bodies in their provision of services for example educational services and in their administration of various social services as in the case of social security services.

3. Legislative functions: These include the function of making or creating subsidiary legislation. The responsibility of legislative functions is on the respective Ministers‟. The duty of making by-laws is also the respective ministers.

4. Judicial functions: These primarily involve the functions of determining claims or disputes between individuals and other bodies. A good example of administrative body that performs judicial functions is the Industrial Court which functions as a court of law.

5. Quasi Judicial functions: These involve the exercise of powers which are fundamentally judicial but without the usual trappings of a court of law for example without strict requirement of rules of evidence or the observance of rules of evidence, without strict requirements of examination of witnesses and without other legal Technicalities. A good example being the Liquor Licensing Court, the Land Control Boards and the Motor Vehicle Licensing Authorities.

Functions/purposes of administrative law
1. It ensures proper dispensation of services.
2. It seeks to protect citizens from abuse of power.
3. To keep the powers of government i.e powers of various public bodies within their legal bounds, so as to protect citizens from their abuse. Abuse of power can arise either from malice, bad faith or even from the complexities of the law.
4. There are duties placed in public bodies (public institutions) such that another function of the law is to see that the duties are performed and that the public agencies can be compelled to perform their duties where there is laxity or where they refuse or otherwise fail to do so.

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