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From the U.S. Code Online via GPO Access
[Laws in effect as of January 27, 1998]
[Document not affected by Public Laws enacted between
  January 27, 1998 and January 5, 1999]
[CITE: 5USC551]

                     PART I--THE AGENCIES GENERALLY
Sec. 551. Definitions

    For the purpose of this subchapter--
        (1) ``agency'' means each authority of the Government of the 
    United States, whether or not it is within or subject to review by 
    another agency, but does not include--
            (A) the Congress;
            (B) the courts of the United States;
            (C) the governments of the territories or possessions of the 
        United States;
            (D) the government of the District of Columbia;

    or except as to the requirements of section 552 of this title--
            (E) agencies composed of representatives of the parties or 
        of representatives of organizations of the parties to the 
        disputes determined by them;
            (F) courts martial and military commissions;
            (G) military authority exercised in the field in time of war 
        or in occupied territory; or
            (H) functions conferred by sections 1738, 1739, 1743, and 
        1744 of title 12; chapter 2 of title 41; subchapter II of 
        chapter 471 of title 49; or sections 1884, 1891-1902, and former 
        section 1641(b)(2), of title 50, appendix;

        (2) ``person'' includes an individual, partnership, corporation, 
    association, or public or private organization other than an agency;
        (3) ``party'' includes a person or agency named or admitted as a 
    party, or properly seeking and entitled as of right to be admitted 
    as a party, in an agency proceeding, and a person or agency admitted 
    by an agency as a party for limited purposes;
        (4) ``rule'' means the whole or a part of an agency statement of 
    general or particular applicability and future effect designed to 
    implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or describing the 
    organization, procedure, or practice requirements of an agency and 
    includes the approval or prescription for the future of rates, 
    wages, corporate or financial structures or reorganizations thereof, 
    prices, facilities, appliances, services or allowances therefor or 
    of valuations, costs, or accounting, or practices bearing on any of 
    the foregoing;
        (5) ``rule making'' means agency process for formulating, 
    amending, or repealing a rule;
        (6) ``order'' means the whole or a part of a final disposition, 
    whether affirmative, negative, injunctive, or declaratory in form, 
    of an agency in a matter other than rule making but including 
        (7) ``adjudication'' means agency process for the formulation of 
    an order;
        (8) ``license'' includes the whole or a part of an agency 
    permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter, membership, 
    statutory exemption or other form of permission;
        (9) ``licensing'' includes agency process respecting the grant, 
    renewal, denial, revocation, suspension, annulment, withdrawal, 
    limitation, amendment, modification, or conditioning of a license;
        (10) ``sanction'' includes the whole or a part of an agency--
            (A) prohibition, requirement, limitation, or other condition 
        affecting the freedom of a person;
            (B) withholding of relief;
            (C) imposition of penalty or fine;
            (D) destruction, taking, seizure, or withholding of 
            (E) assessment of damages, reimbursement, restitution, 
        compensation, costs, charges, or fees;
            (F) requirement, revocation, or suspension of a license; or
            (G) taking other compulsory or restrictive action;

        (11) ``relief'' includes the whole or a part of an agency--
            (A) grant of money, assistance, license, authority, 
        exemption, exception, privilege, or remedy;
            (B) recognition of a claim, right, immunity, privilege, 
        exemption, or exception; or
            (C) taking of other action on the application or petition 
        of, and beneficial to, a person;

        (12) ``agency proceeding'' means an agency process as defined by 
    paragraphs (5), (7), and (9) of this section;
        (13) ``agency action'' includes the whole or a part of an agency 
    rule, order, license, sanction, relief, or the equivalent or denial 
    thereof, or failure to act; and
        (14) ``ex parte communication'' means an oral or written 
    communication not on the public record with respect to which 
    reasonable prior notice to all parties is not given, but it shall 
    not include requests for status reports on any matter or proceeding 
    covered by this subchapter.

(Pub. L. 89-554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 381; Pub. L. 94-409, Sec. 4(b), 
Sept. 13, 1976, 90 Stat. 1247; Pub. L. 103-272, Sec. 5(a), July 5, 1994, 
108 Stat. 1373.)

                      Historical and Revision Notes
                                                    Revised Statutes and
     Derivation                U.S. Code             Statutes at Large
(1)................  5 U.S.C. 1001(a).             June 11, 1946, ch.
                                                    324, Sec.  2(a), 60
                                                    Stat. 237.
                     ............................  Aug. 8, 1946, ch.
                                                    870, Sec.  302, 60
                                                    Stat. 918.
                     ............................  Aug. 10, 1946, ch.
                                                    951, Sec.  601, 60
                                                    Stat. 993.
                     ............................  Mar. 31, 1947, ch.
                                                    30, Sec.  6(a), 61
                                                    Stat. 37.
                     ............................  June 30, 1947, ch.
                                                    163, Sec.  210, 61
                                                    Stat. 201.
                     ............................  Mar. 30, 1948, ch.
                                                    161, Sec.  301, 62
                                                    Stat. 99.
(2)-(13)...........  5 U.S.C. 1001 (less (a)).     June 11, 1946, ch.
                                                    324, Sec.  2 (less
                                                    (a)), 60 Stat. 237.

    In paragraph (1), the sentence ``Nothing in this Act shall be 
construed to repeal delegations of authority as provided by law,'' is 
omitted as surplusage since there is nothing in the Act which could 
reasonably be so construed.
    In paragraph (1)(G), the words ``or naval'' are omitted as included 
in ``military''.
    In paragraph (1)(H), the words ``functions which by law expire on 
the termination of present hostilities, within any fixed period 
thereafter, or before July 1, 1947'' are omitted as executed. Reference 
to the ``Selective Training and Service Act of 1940'' is omitted as that 
Act expired Mar. 31, 1947. Reference to the ``Sugar Control Extension 
Act of 1947'' is omitted as that Act expired on Mar. 31, 1948. 
References to the ``Housing and Rent Act of 1947, as amended'' and the 
``Veterans' Emergency Housing Act of 1946'' have been consolidated as 
they are related. The reference to former section 1641(b)(2) of title 
50, appendix, is retained notwithstanding its repeal by Sec. 111(a)(1) 
of the Act of Sept. 21, 1961, Pub. L. 87-256, 75 Stat. 538, since 
Sec. 111(c) of the Act provides that a reference in other Acts to a 
provision of law repealed by Sec. 111(a) shall be considered to be a 
reference to the appropriate provisions of Pub. L. 87-256.
    In paragraph (2), the words ``of any character'' are omitted as 
    In paragraph (3), the words ``and a person or agency admitted by an 
agency as a party for limited purposes'' are substituted for ``but 
nothing herein shall be construed to prevent an agency from admitting 
any person or agency as a party for limited purposes''.
    In paragraph (9), a comma is supplied between the words 
``limitation'' and ``amendment'' to correct an editorial error of 
    In paragraph (10)(C), the words ``of any form'' are omitted as 
    Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable 
and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


    Section 551 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government 
Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2242 of Title 7, 


    1994--Par. (1)(H). Pub. L. 103-272 substituted ``subchapter II of 
chapter 471 of title 49; or sections'' for ``or sections 1622,''.
    1976--Par. (14). Pub. L. 94-409 added par. (14).

                    Effective Date of 1976 Amendment

    Amendment by Pub. L. 94-409 effective 180 days after Sept. 13, 1976, 
see section 6 of Pub. L. 94-409, set out as an Effective Date note under 
section 552b of this title.

                  Section Referred to in Other Sections

    This section is referred to in sections 500, 504, 552, 562, 571, 
592, 595, 601, 701, 804, 3344, 3348 of this title; title 2 sections 501, 
502, 658, 1602; title 7 section 6997; title 15 sections 78d-1, 78w, 632, 
637c, 766, 2053, 3412, 3416; title 16 section 470w; title 22 sections 
3731, 6033; title 26 sections 6103, 9041; title 30 sections 185, 956; 
title 31 sections 3901, 6101, 7501; title 41 section 422; title 42 
sections 2231, 2992c, 6107, 6241, 6393, 7191, 8259, 8262, 8287c, 11317, 
11504; title 46 sections 7702, 9303; title 47 sections 155, 409; title 
49 sections 106, 11324; title 50 App. sections 2159, 2412.