Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Peter L. Lindseth
Chapter 1: Révolution, Rechtsstaat and the Rule of Law: Historical Reflections on the Emergence of Administrative Law in Europe
1 Révolution, Rechtsstaat, and the Rule of Law: historical reflections on the emergence of administrative law in Europe Bernardo Sordi* The history of administrative law in Europe reflects the emergence and evolution of administrative power within the nation state over the last two and half centuries. Several broad comparative questions arise: In what ways have the various paths to droit administratif in France or Verwaltungsrecht in Germany converged or diverged from the path to administrative law in England (and later America)? Similarly, how have the German or French paths to the Rechtsstaat or the État de droit, respectively, converged or diverged from the Anglo-American path to the Rule of Law? Providing intelligible answers to these questions is a difficult challenge. The developments under discussion are at once specifically national and, at the same time, so broad and complex as perhaps to elude effective comparison, at least in the minds of some readers. It is therefore advisable to circumscribe both the questions and the possible answers, as well as to establish chronological limits. The particular routes to droit administratif, Verwaltungsrecht, or administrative law must be understood in light of the various processes of State-formation and the different constitutional histories of the countries concerned. Nevertheless, no State-building process mechanistically translates into a particular system of administrative law. The history of State-formation in Europe proceeded not merely according to its own specific tempos but also on a different factual level from the conceptual and legal representations of those changes. In our analysis...
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