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Editor: Matthias Ruffert
Published: May 2009
Administrative law has been the object of thorough reforms in many European countries. Most of the developments are common to the various legal systems, such as the idea of New Public Management or new patterns like public choice and consumer orientation. There are novel agencies and regulatory concepts, there is deregulation, and the citizen-government relationship has been changed towards openness and mutuality.
Various administrative legal systems' modifications are different with respect to their starting points, but similar in their development. Administrative law scholarship has taken up these challenges. The core scientific development is a shift away from the control (ie courtroom) perspective towards a perspective of governance ('Steuerung' in the German terminology). Administrative law should provide means, tools and scales which allow for the effective implementation of legal principles and rules, using resources economically and taking sound decisions which are acceptable to those affected. It is also indispensable to adopt an interdisciplinary perspective.
Considering all these developments, it is fair to talk about a 'New Administrative Law scholarship' (Neue Verwaltungsrechtswissenschaft) as a scientific approach.
In the different European countries, debates on that transformation of administrative law take place from a national perspective and with different intensity. Given the considerable effects such discussion may have on the methods of administrative legal scholarship, an analysis of the developments in a European context promises valuable results.