Comparative Administrative Law
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Comparative Administrative Law

Edited by Susan Rose-Ackerman and Peter L. Lindseth

This research handbook is a comprehensive overview of the field of comparative administrative law. The specially commissioned chapters in this landmark volume represent a broad, multi-method approach combining perspectives from history and social science with more strictly legal analyses. Comparisons of the United States, continental Europe, and the British Commonwealth are complemented by contributions that focus on Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The work aims to stimulate comparative research on public law, reaching across countries and scholarly disciplines.
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Chapter 12: The Promise of Comparative Administrative Law: A Constitutional Perspective on Independent Agencies

Daniel Halberstam


Daniel Halberstam* The role of so-called ‘independent administrative agencies’ in democratic governance, and the study of their practical importance and normative significance, are on the rise in many jurisdictions. In the United States, the administrative state never ceases to be the object of fresh critical scholarly discussion as well as practical efforts at reform. Within European states, such as England, France, and Germany, renewed attention is being given to the role of independent agencies (sometimes termed QUANGOS) in law enforcement, adjudication, and rulemaking – often in connection with European mandates of administration. At the supranational level of governance, the European Union itself has witnessed a dramatic explosion of agencies over the past decade as well. And at the international level writ large, the creation, migration, and enforcement of norms has increasingly taken place within an ever expanding network of agencies that challenge us to understand (or, better, question whether we should understand) global governance within the paradigm of administrative law as well. The United States, with its long tradition of independent agencies often serves as a point of reference in these discussions (for example, Geradin 2004). Although there is no general authoritative definition, such agencies are understood to operate somewhat separately from the executive branch structure and to be somewhat insulated from the executive branch hierarchy, often taking the form of a bipartisan body of Commissioners whom the President can remove only ‘for cause’ (Breger and Edles 2000: 1135–6). A foreign scholar should be warned, however, that there is continued...

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