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Home » Archive » Administrative Law In Europe: A Historical And Comparative Perspective

Giacinto della Cananea
Administrative Law In Europe: A Historical And Comparative Perspective
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There is currently a growing interest in the question
whether a convergence between the administrative laws of
European countries is coming into being and, if so, whether this is
desirable or otherwise, as well as whether and the extent to which
this depends on broader process of European integration and
globalization. This article addresses the question of the limited use
of comparative analysis with regard to administrative law, by
arguing that it depended on cultural prejudices, the underlying
idea being that, unlike private law, administrative law was but a
product of each State and its national culture. The article
challenges this received idea, by pointing out the importance of
transplants and cross-fertilization. It argues, secondly, that
administrative law must be considered in a dynamic perspective,
and thus focuses on some dynamics of change: the growing
importance of public authorities within and outside the Nation-
States; the emergence of a common core of general principles of
law; the procedural principles that have emerged in national
administrative law systems; and finally, the gradual erosion of the
areas of immunity. The article expresses, however, a sceptical note
with regard to any vision of administrative law that emphasizes
progress, arguing that some techniques of administration often
regarded as innovative are not at all new. It observes, moreover,
that administrative law is still characterized by a fundamental
ambivalence between different ideals and forces. The article ends with a brief glance of some theoretical implications, with
specific regard to the importance of comparative analysis.

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