Limitations on Manner of Exercise

Administrative authorities are created by statute[i].  They have only such powers as the statute confers on them.  The federal Administrative Procedure Act provides that an administrative agency may impose a sanction or issue a substantive rule or order, only within the jurisdiction delegated to the agency and as authorized by law[ii].  In Quakers Oats Co. v. Cedar Rapids Human Rights Com., 268 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 1978), the court held that administrative agencies possess only such authority as is legally conferred by express provision of law.  Such agencies also possess authority that is incident to and included for the purpose of carrying out and accomplishing the objectives for which those agencies are created.  Thus, those agencies should not extend substantive provisions of legislative enactment. Also they should not create substantive rights through exercise of their rule making powers.

The powers of administrative authorities should be exercised in accordance with the statue conferring such power[iii].  In Howell School Bd. Dist. v. Hubbartt, 246 Iowa 1265 (Iowa 1955), the court held that powers conferred on an administrative agency should be exercised only in the manner and under the circumstances prescribed by law.  The court further held that, if powers are exercised in any other manner or under different circumstances, then the proceedings will be a nullity.  In GHS HMO, Inc. v. United States, 76 Fed. Cl. 339 (Fed. Cl. 2007), the court held that no matter how serious the problem an administrative agency seeks to address, it may not exercise its authority in a manner that is not consistent with the law.

Administrative authorities should act only in the mode prescribed by the statute[iv].  In Sheehan v. Altschuler, 148 Conn. 517, 523-524 (Conn. 1961), the court held that when the mode in which the power of administrative bodies is to be exercised is prescribed, then that mode should be followed.  Similarly, if a power or duty is imposed upon the authorities jointly or as a body, it may not be exercised by them acting individually and separately[v].

The Constitution of Missouri provides that the judicial power of the state is vested in the courts[vi].  In Mikel v. Pott Indus., 896 S.W.2d 624 (Mo. 1995), the court held that  agency adjudicative power extends only to the ascertainment of facts and the application of existing law to the facts and the judicial power of the state is vested in the courts.

[i] State ex rel. Greenberg v. Florida State Board of Dentistry, 297 So. 2d 628 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 1974)

[ii] 5 USCS § 558

[iii] In re VILLAGE BD. OF WHEATLAND, 42 N.W.2d 321, 335 (N.D. 1950)

[iv] ibid

[v] State ex rel. Greenberg v. Florida State Board of Dentistry, 297 So. 2d 628 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 1974)

[vi] Mo. Const. Art. V, § 1


Inside Limitations on Manner of Exercise