Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Peter L. Lindseth
Susan Rose-Ackerman and Peter L. Lindseth Administrative law exists at the interface between the state and society – between civil servants and state institutions, on the one hand, and citizens, business firms, organized groups, and non-citizens, on the other. Civil service law and bureaucratic organization charts and rules provide an essential background, but our emphasis is on the law’s fundamental role in framing the way individuals and organizations test and challenge the legitimacy of the modern state outside of the electoral process. There are two broad tasks – protecting individuals against an overreaching state and providing external checks that enhance the democratic accountability and competence of the administration. Public law is the product of statutory, constitutional, and judicial choices over time; it blends constitutional and administrative concerns. The Germans speak of administrative law as ‘concretized’ constitutional law, and Americans often call it ‘applied’ constitutional law. The English, with no written constitution, refer to ‘natural justice’ and, more recently, to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The French tradition of droit administratif contains within it a whole conceptual vocabulary – dualité de juridiction, acte administratif, service public – that has been deeply influential in many parts of the world (notably francophone Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America). East Asia has a long tradition of centralized, hierarchical, and bureaucratic rule – a sort of ‘administrative law’ avant la lettre. And yet, in forging its own modern variants, East Asia has also drawn on Western (and particularly German and US) models. Administrative law is one of...