Administrative law, so the saying goes, is concretised constitutional law (Fritz Werner, Verwaltungsrecht als konkretisiertes Verfassungsrecht, 1959). It aims to shape the everyday exercise of public power in the image of essential constitutional principles, such as the rule of law, separation of powers, or fundamental rights.

The story of European administrative law is also largely a story of concretised comparative law. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) laid down the foundations of European administrative law through what can be described as a process of creative comparison. It identified the common denominator of principles shared in the legal orders of the Member States – both substantive (such as proportionality or legality) and procedural (such as the right to be heard) – and incorporated them into the Union legal order as general principles of administrative law.

The language of European administrative law is, accordingly, a language borrowed, or better, built from the commonalities among national administrative laws. One should not underestimate the importance of such a shared language. After all, it enables communication about legal problems and their resolution between lawyers from across the Union who were trained in distinctive legal cultures. However, one should not overlook that such communication is still hampered by the appearance of consensus as to the exact meaning of that language.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputEuropean and comparative administrative law blog
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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