The appearance of a substantial body of administrative law in the United States preceded its recognition as such by a good many years. In the intervening period, the courts made every effort to fit the new and unfamiliar jurisprudence into old and familiar forms, particularly those of the common law. This was a natural development, both because it accorded with common law traditions of adjustment, and because there was no legislative recognition of the view for action. The recognition that the problems of administrative law cannot invariably be solved within the framework of traditional legal concepts has paralleled the growing awareness of this new body of law. Many vestiges of the older approach remain, however. Particularly is this true in the form of judicial control over administrative action.

It is the purpose of this article to show how the courts have attempted to mold one of these forms to such new uses, to demonstrate the inadequacy of the formulas devised for its application and to suggest that no single solution, whether of legislative or judicial devising, can prove satisfactory for the multiplicity of administrative functions found in government today and now reviewable by the writ of mandamus.