Carol Harlow & Richard Rawlings
National administrative procedures in a european perspective: pathways to a slow convergence
This paper looks at the evolution of principles and rules of administrative procedure in the European Union and their implications for national systems of administrative law. Section 1 treats the development of 'general principles of administrative procedure' by the Luxembourg Courts. Section 2 deals with problems of conflicts which may arise when procedural principles of administrative law gain the status of a fundamental human right, with special reference to the European Convention on Human Rights. Section 3 turns to the 'soft law' principles of good administration promulgated by the European Ombudsman in his Code of Good Administrative Behaviour. Section 4 looks briefly at the increasing volume of sector-specific regulation by the EU, which often directly imposes procedural requirements on national administrations. Section 5 covers horizontal EU requirements in respect of access to information and privacy. The authors foresee a gradual convergence of national procedural requirements, concluding that a gradual approach will prove more effective in the long run than codification at EU level or other attempts at formal procedural harmonisation.