Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition
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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition

Edited by Jan M. Smits

Written by leading authorities in their respective fields, the contributions in this accessible book cover and combine not only questions regarding the methodology of comparative law, but also specific areas of law (such as administrative law and criminal law) and specific topics (such as accident compensation and consideration). In addition, the Encyclopedia contains reports on a selected set of countries’ legal systems and, as a whole, presents an overview of the current state of affairs.
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Chapter 2: Administrative law*

Hanns Peter Nehl


Comparative administrative law constitutes a relatively young discipline in comparison with other fields of law in which comparative analysis is deeply rooted, such as, in particular, private law. The main reason for this has been the widely shared assumption that in the area of public law there would be neither a practical nor a theoretical need to search for solutions that comparative analysis might have been able to bring about. In fact, since the 19th century the domestic administrative systems have long been perceived as reflecting a unique organizational choice by the nation state tailored to the national political, societal, economic and cultural particularities of its polity rather than being the result of transnationally shared fundamental values or concerns. Thus traditional concepts of administrative law used to emphasize the uniqueness of the state’s administrative system that would not easily allow comparisons with, let alone ‘transplants’ from, other systems. Contrary to this, private law, at least in its commercial aspects, has traditionally been more open to comparative analysis and transnational convergence. This essentially flows from the ‘universality’ of the private economic interests at stake and the need to facilitate ever growing private cross-border transactions.

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