What Is an Administrative Court?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 08 April 2014
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An administrative court is a court through which administrative law decisions are made. The manner in which administrative law courts are set up and handled may vary from country to country. Often, however, an administrative court reviews cases regarding the actions and decisions of those in public authority. For example, this type of court may make decisions regarding welfare benefit cases, taxes, immigration laws, and building permits. In fact, administrative courts often make decisions after a person has been denied a benefit by a public authority or administrative agency and wishes to have that decision overturned.

Many countries have administrative law courts that are responsible for handling cases involving agencies responsible for making and enforcing rules and regulations that affect the public. For example, such an agency may make and enforce rules related to public safety, commerce, food and drug consumption, and even energy use in some places. Some may handle cases involving insurance and prisoner rights as well. These agencies may also develop new procedures and implement processes based on government legislation.


An administrative court generally handles a wide variety of cases. For example, if a public authority has denied an individual a benefit to which he believes he is entitled, he may contest the denial thorough an administrative court in his jurisdiction. The same goes for a person who believes he has been unfairly taxed or denied a right. For instance, if a party is denied the right to operate a business because of a failed building inspection, he may seek to have this decision reviewed by an administrative law court. Sometimes these courts even handle cases involving immigration law and environmental licensing.

Administrative courts may not have the final say in the disputes they review, however. If a person is denied benefits based on the criteria set by an administrative or regulatory agency, for example, he may request to have his case reviewed by an administrative court. If the denied party is unhappy with the decision of the administrative court, however, he may appeal the administrative court's decision in judicial court.

In some countries, administrative courts are entirely separate from other court systems within the same country. In such a case, an administrative court may not have jurisdiction over the other court systems and vice versa. In other places, however, administrative courts function as tribunals and their decisions can be appealed in a different type of court.


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