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New publication highlights historical definitional discourses on administrative law

As a branch of public law concerned with executive power, administrative law is intrinsically tied to the nationally specific constitutional values, historical traditions, political and judicial institutions and governmental systems in which it intervenes. The acknowledged prevalence and growth of administrative law in modern self-governing nations and the consequences for the bureaucratization of society are historically due to economic and societal reasons which have led to the complexification of the functions and obligations of the state in the late 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Although historically nationally bound, administrative law is presently enjoying a transnational phase of its evolution. Fundamentally shaped by domestic constitutional experiences, national politics and historically specific democratic traditions, administrative law is tending to converge due to the commonality of democratic aspirations and the impact of international organizations on national administrative systems. Accordingly, the study of administrative law is currently propelled by a comparative approach placing national legal definitions in a multi-layered historical, constitutional, European and international perspective. In consequence, the particular principles, arguments, values and ideologies internal to the administrative systems at national, transnational and supranational level, not only carry out historically and legally the political ambitions of the executive but mainly inform the doctrinal discourse on administrative law itself and vice versa. In that sense, the historical, institutional, political and academic discourse on the development of administrative law is itself a creative exercise which redefines legal obligations, furthering an ever-evolving model of administrative governance in modern democracies and beyond the democracy paradigm.

F. O. Rolland’s chapter on Administrative Law is published in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (MPECCoL) - OUP - 2019