Open Access

Rule of Law or Law Overruled ? Why the Rule of Law Should Be on the Public Administration Research Agenda


There appears to be a remarkable contradiction between what is happening in public-administration science and in public-administration practice. In the former, legal approaches have been displaced by managerial and political approaches. Th is shift sharply contrasts with the continuous legalization and juridification of publicadministration practice. Public-administration practice has gradually converged with the law. Lawyers and legal scholars applaud the convergence of the law and public administration as the ultimate realization of the ideal of the Rechtsstaat. A public-administration perspective should take a more critical stance. From a publicadministration perspective, the Rechtsstaat produces both functional and dysfunctional effects. Assessing these effects requires comparative and multi-disciplinary research. Comparative research will reveal different legal and administrative traditions both within Europe and between Europe and other parts of the world. The Rechtsstaat should therefore return onto the public-administration research agenda.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Political Science, Local Government and Administration