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Practice Area Definition

Administrative and Public Law Definition

The subject matter within the scope of administrative and public law is broad and diverse. Generally, “public law” refers to the areas of law that govern relationships between individuals and their governments, as well as those relationships between individuals that are of importance to society as a whole. It is an umbrella term encompassing such areas as constitutional law, competition law, professional discipline, aboriginal law, energy law, municipal law, health law, human rights law, immigration law, labour law, environmental law, information and privacy law, securities law, competition law, public inquiries, inquests, and professional regulation.

All of these fields have an administrative law component. “Administrative law” refers to the area of law that regulates the procedures and powers of administrative agencies, boards, and tribunals which exercise delegated authority in the various spheres of public law.  

Administrative and public law lawyers help clients navigate the complex web of legal institutions that regulate their personal and business activities. As a starting point, this includes helping clients understand how their activities are regulated, as well as how to navigate the bureaucracy created by statutes and regulations and how to comply with legislation as well as agency, board, and tribunal policies. This may involve compliance advice, obtaining a permit or license, representing clients at regulatory hearings, and providing strategic advice to achieve business objectives.

At the enforcement stage, administrative and public lawyers represent clients being investigated by public authorities, and defend clients in hearings involving allegations of non-compliance before adjudicative tribunals as well as in courts, inquests and inquiries. Lawyers also assist clients challenging decisions or actions taken by governments, agencies, and tribunals. Where a client is dissatisfied with an expert tribunal’s decision, administrative and public lawyers may assist clients in appeals and judicial reviews of the administrative body’s decision.

Some lawyers practicing administrative and public law have general experience navigating the legal institutions by which governments impose rules, provide policy and strategic advice, or represent clients in hearings and in courts. Others have very specialized expertise in specific regulated spheres.

The subject matter within the scope of administrative and public law is broad and diverse. Generally, “public law” refers to the areas of law that govern relationships between individuals and their governments, as well as those relationships between individuals that are of importance to society as a whole. It is an umbrella term encompassing such areas as constitutional law, competition law, professional discipline, aboriginal law, energy law, municipal law, health law, human rights law, immigration law, labour law, environmental law, information and privacy law, securities law, competition law, public inquiries, inquests, and professional regulation.

All of these fields have an administrative law component. “Administrative law” refers to the area of law that regulates the procedures and powers of administrative agencies, boards, and tribunals which exercise delegated authority in the various spheres of public law.  

Administrative and public law lawyers help clients navigate the complex web of legal institutions that regulate their personal and business activities. As a starting point, this includes helping clients understand how their activities are regulated, as well as how to navigate the bureaucracy created by statutes and regulations and how to comply with legislation as well as agency, board, and tribunal policies. This may involve compliance advice, obtaining a permit or license, representing clients at regulatory hearings, and providing strategic advice to achieve business objectives.

At the enforcement stage, administrative and public lawyers represent clients being investigated by public authorities, and defend clients in hearings involving allegations of non-compliance before adjudicative tribunals as well as in courts, inquests and inquiries. Lawyers also assist clients challenging decisions or actions taken by governments, agencies, and tribunals. Where a client is dissatisfied with an expert tribunal’s decision, administrative and public lawyers may assist clients in appeals and judicial reviews of the administrative body’s decision.

Some lawyers practicing administrative and public law have general experience navigating the legal institutions by which governments impose rules, provide policy and strategic advice, or represent clients in hearings and in courts. Others have very specialized expertise in specific regulated spheres.