Also referred to as administrative law, regulatory law can be defined as that a body of law which governs administration and regulation of agencies and officers of government. These government agencies; executive, police, attorney general, courts, commissions, tribunals, boards, etc have powers bestowed upon them. There is risk that these agencies may abuse their power, or takes actions in excess of the powers conferred upon them by the law. The administrative law is considered one of the major branches of public law.
The courts in the United States and elsewhere in the world have handled many matters of administrative law. In practice, this law is reinforced by the courts issuing certain orders, writs, and rulings. In instances where it is found that a public body exceeded or abused the powers conferred upon it then that action can be declared ultra vires.
Certiorari is one of the writs commonly issued in regulatory law. This writ is mostly issued by higher court to lower court requesting the lower court to produce its record in particular case so that the higher court can review it. The United States Supreme Court mostly uses certiorari in picking cases it is empowered by law to review. This writ is mostly issued in cases whereby there is no right of appeal.
Mandamus is an order commonly issued in administrative law cases. It is in the form of court order to individual, corporation, public body, or governmental official ordering and requiring that government official to correct abuse of exercise of powers conferred upon them, or to fill the duties conferred upon them by the law. For example, if a student feels that he or she was unfairly denied admission to certain college or school, he or she can go to court and request the court to issue mandamus. After the hearing, the court may issue the writ of mandamus to that college or shoal requiring it to admit the student whom it had denied admission.
Prohibition order is the opposite of mandamus. In regulatory law, prohibition order acts as legal restriction preventing permanently or temporarily a public body, organization or authority from doing something or continuing with some certain conduct. In practice, the prohibition order is used so as to prevent certain body or organization from taking certain prospective decision. For example, it may be used to tribunal or lower court restraining it from doing something that exceeds the jurisdiction conferred upon it by the law.
Quo warranto is a common procedure in administrative law. It Latin, the term quo warranto means ‘by what authority?’ The procedure is taken so as to stop organization or person from continuing with an action or activity in which it does not have legal authority under the law. The person going to the court quo warranto wants to know the right by which that organization or person exercises the controversial authority.
Many jurisdictions in the world have ‘replaced’ the orders or certiorari, mandamus, prohibition and quo warranto with injunctions, judicial review and other generic-named remedies in administrative law. However, the grounds, spirit and procedure of these new generic tools remains same as that of traditional remedies.