Where Constitutional Law and Administrative Law Intersects and Diverge

Constitutional Law and Administrative Law

Over the years, citizens have typically been required to be conversant with a country’s governing Constitution and the subsequent principles of constitutional law binding the aforementioned concept. This reality has long ensured that a considerable crosssection of the population is familiar with a specific set of ratified rules and principles specifically enacted to govern citizens’ relationship with each other and the state. Yet, it is also important to also take into account the function and application of specified principle law as it is crucial to the proper functioning of a given state.

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According to Vermeule (2016), administrative law constitutes a unique set of legislations designed to guide day-to-day aspects of governance, such as the provisions set for government agencies and their officials. In contrast, constitutional law only provides a functioning structure for exercising power, as opposed to governing the actual exercise of power. This is why administrative law is now responsible for defining legislation meant to guide the government’s action to ensure that government exercises its mandate within the existing power framework. Today, the intersection of constitutional and administrative law is still a fascinating part of legal studies. It offers an unadulterated insight into the functioning of the government of the day and specific delimitations in which it operates within the limits set by the Constitution while discharging its duties.

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The Intersection of Constitutional Law and Administrative Law

Today, the political dispensation of a majority of the states that identify as democracies operates within a framework where constitutional and administrative law intersect in several key areas. The Constitution of a state provides a concise outline of fundamental principles that govern conduct within its sovereign territory and how power is exercised. This often includes an elaborate principle of separation of powers, strategies for government function, and the protection of human rights and individual rights. Nevertheless, specific sub-rules are still provided under umbrella clauses which often indicate the complex and sophisticated nature of both constitutional and administrative law (Komesar, 2019). The intersection of constitutional and administrative law is evidence of the dynamic nature of the law as the government attempts to exercise power while administrative agencies seek to exercise their legally-awarded mandate.

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At the present moment, it is worth noting that constitutional and administrative law intersects in the delegation of duties for civil servants and government staff. In this scenario, the Constitution is tasked with governing the separation of powers between the three arms of government, namely the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary (Cane, 2018). On the other hand, administrative law is responsible for delegating powers from one branch of the government to the next to avert legal crises stemming from a blatant violation of Constitutional principles. Additionally, constitutional and administrative law also intersect and the provision and safeguarding of fundamental rights and freedoms. Today, the Constitution is tasked with ensuring individuals’ rights such as the freedom of speech can be exercised freely without the government infringing upon people (Adler, 2017). Similarly, administrative law also guarantees the provision of individual rights and freedoms while limiting and governing the actions of government agencies. This intersection also spills over to critical functions such as judicial review to ensure that the law is interpreted as per legal provisions within the constitution while also examining the competence of the governing judicial agencies.

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The Divergence of Constitutional Law and Administrative Laws

The current framework of governance is also such that areas of divergence between the function of constitutional and administrative laws are bound to emerge. Divergence within the context of constitutional and administrative laws typically emerges when both entities are confronted with competing interests, especially when the discourse in question is to be guided by the Constitution (Orr & Rawlings, 2019). Moreover, divergence is also apparent in power-sharing arrangements between different branches of government notwithstanding the principle of separation of powers. This is because the Constitution also provides a clear framework for the actual separation of power and acceptable practices during this particular period. During such scenarios, those exercising administrative law have been known to participate in the metaphorical filling of gaps by offering rules and guidance on the conduct of various the interaction of branches of government. Nevertheless, these regulations are often criticized for being inconsistent in their rhetoric and the actual Constitutional principles to implement during the conflict.

The divergence of constitutional and administrative law is also evident in the safeguarding of individual rights and freedoms. Such scenarios often pit these two elements against each other. Here, the constitution affirms its stance on standing with the principle of protecting the individual rights and freedoms of people while administrative law firmly stands with the notion of finding a healthy balance between individual rights and public safety. Furthermore, administrative law is known for involving a high level of discretion in daily actions and judgments reserved for government officials and agencies. This may create a rift with proponents of the Constitution since actions akin to preferential treatment are inconsistent with constitutional principles. The divergence between constitutional and administrative law is also apparent during judicial review. While the Constitution provides clear provisions for the interpretation of laws to guarantee consistency between government actions and the inherent principles, administrative law normally focuses on limiting the entire scope of routine judicial reviews.

Significance of the Intersection and Divergence of Constitutional Law and Administrative Laws

A general understanding of the intersection and divergence of constitutional law remains a critical competence for our comprehension today. This knowledge is particularly essential for any individual who aspires to work in government or public policy since it provides critical guidance on actions at each stage. It is also an important requirement for pundits and lobbyists seeking to hold the administration to account while attempting to ensure that the government is run in a fair constitutional manner. Additionally, a clear understanding of this intersection is essential since it offers a practical framework for guiding government functions within constitutional parameters. Huscroft (2019) affirms that it also ensures that we actively strive to improve our understanding of the Constitution and the specific gaps which  administrative law should fill during operation. Moreover, knowledge of the intersection between these two legal fields can help us gain a deeper understanding of typical government function to ensure that it always abides by constitutional provisions. We ultimately get a deeper understanding of how the government typically operates and are eventually able to actively identify the vicissitudes of governance while also attempting to balance any competing interests.

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Constitutional and administrative law are two of the most important aspects of governance today. Our understanding of the intersection and divergence that happens to be between constitutional law and administrative law is an important aspect of governance today and will go a long way in improving our overall understanding of how government functions. This knowledge will also help us discern government function and determine whether the administration has been operating fairly and transparently within the backdrop of the Constitution. Whether working in government, public policy, or the legal profession or simply seeking to hold the government accountable, understanding the intersection and divergence between these two fields of law is essential for promoting a functioning democracy.

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