The "formal" uOttawa description, in the obtuse langauge of a bygone era: This course expounds legal control over the administrative process and the exercise of power by public officials as these controls have developed in the administration, the legislature and the courts. Particular attention will be devoted to administrative procedure, including the right to notice and comment prior to the exercise of administrative power, the meaning of bias and impartial tribunals in various administrative settings, judicial review of administrative action and remedies available.
What this course is really about: The single biggest means of ensuring the accountability of the executive branch of government. Put more formally, administrative law deals with key statutory, common law and (occasionally) constitutional constraints on the actions of government officials. It examines the remedies available when these constraints have been violated. In every material respect, it is the "law of government accountability". Administrative law determines the way in which the state interacts with the people, in a manner that is much more immediate than constitutional law.