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The Council of Europe and the Pan-European General Principles of Good Administration

I. General Outline of the Project on the Pan-European General Principles of Good Administration

II. The Pan-European General Principles of Good Administration Framework (Materials for 'Phase 2' of the Project)

III. Context of the Project with the ReNEUAL Working Group 2.1.: "Common European Principles of Administrative Law and Good Administration"

IV. Project Related Publications

I. General Outline of the Project on the Pan-European General Principles of Good Administration

Project Team:

Funding: since 2015, funded by "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)" and the German Research Institute for Public Administration Speyer

The project aims to explore the evolution, the content, the functions, the effectiveness and the possibilities of enforcing the pan-European principles of good administration. These are expressed in the rich trove of international conventions of the Council of Europe (CoE), recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the CoE, resolutions of its other various bodies (such as the Venice Commission) and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). These sources often refer to and build upon each other. They form a 'coherent whole', specifying as a 'package' concrete legal requirements for the administrative law of the CoE Member States in order to legitimise administrative action and to ensure compliance of the administration with the rule of law and individual rights.

"Phase 1" of the project, completed in 2020, took stock of the sources of the pan-European principles of good administration, identified their range and the topics they cover and analysed their harmonising effect and its limits for the administrative law of the CoE Member States and, thus, their effectiveness within these legal orders. This was done with the help of experts from 28 CoE Member States.

A state practice was identified according to which these principles, as a 'package', concretise the founding values of the CoE as mentioned in Article 3 of the Statute of the CoE (SCoE).

Thus, these principles are binding upon the CoE Member States as regional international law. Their development is the result of the CoE Member States' common historical experience with regard to the requirements of a ‘good’ administrative law.

However, as a 'package', these principles leave a wide margin of appreciation to the CoE Member States as to how and to what extent these principles are to be implemented into the national legal system. In particular, they do not lead to the harmonisation of the (considerable) differences in the "administrative legal mindsets" of the CoE Member States.

A short description of 'phase 1' of the project and its findings can be found at:

U. Stelkens and A. Andrijauskaitė, Research on the Council of Europe and Good Administration - Reasons, Methods and Substantive Findings, (2020) EU Law Live weekend edition No. 30

 

 

 

 

 

 

The results of 'phase 1' of the project are published in:

U. Stelkens and A. Andrijauskaitė (eds.), Good Administration and the Council of Europe: Law, Principles, and Effectiveness (Oxford University Press, 2020)

For the table of contents, abstracts of the 31 chapters and the authors of the 28 country reports included click here

 

Building on this, the current 'phase 2' of the project aims to explain the content and function of the different pan-European general principles of good administration, topic by topic, from the perspective of different European administrative legal cultures and 'illustrated' with material from the case law of the ECtHR, the reports of the CoE institutions as well as national and Union law sources. This presentation can provide both a point of reference for comparative administrative law and background information for examining whether and to what extent the concrete 'configuration' of national administrative law respects the limits of Article 3 SCoE.

Furthermore, the project will analyse whether the pan-European general legal principles of good administration 'as a package' are also an expression of general principles of Union law and whether and by what means the European Union (EU) can enforce and promote their observance both vis-à-vis EU Member States and its Associated European Partner States.

II. The Pan-European General Principles of Good Administration Framework (Materials for 'Phase 2' of the Project)

The current 'phase 2' of the project aims to explain the content and function of the different pan-European general principles of good administration, topic by topic, from the perspective of different European administrative legal cultures and 'illustrated' with material from the case law of the ECtHR, the reports of the CoE institutions as well as national and Union law sources. This presentation can provide both a point of reference for comparative administrative law and background information for examining whether and to what extent the concrete 'configuration' of national administrative law respects the limits of Article 3 SCoE.

This framework can be filled in like a textbook, with the different sources of the pan-European general principles of administrative law illustrated with the preparatory works done within the CoE, the case law of the ECtHR on the 'principles of good governance', and the work of the CLRAE, the Venice Commission and GRECO, as well as with 'good' cases from the courts of the CoE Member States and relevant national scholarship. Such a use of national sources could ‘unlock’ the practical experience of each Member State for all the other Member States without the need to first acquire knowledge about the specificities of their respective legal systems because the pan-European general principles of good administration would serve as a common reference framework. The CoE handbook 'The administration and you' could serve as a model and inspiration for such an endeavour.

For an overview in the relevant work of the CoE in the realm of administrative law see this Collection of CoE texts, documents and their 'travaux  préparatoires' referred to in the project on the pan-European general principles of good administration.

At this stage of 'phase 2' of the project, the 'grid' is structured as follows (for more information on the different items click the links):

1. The Pan-European General Principles on Administrative Organisation

2. The Pan-European General Principles on Local Self-Government

3. The Pan-European General Principles on the Status of Public Officials and Civil Servants

4. The Pan-European General Principles on Legality of Administration

5. The Pan-European General Principles on Administrative Rules and Administrative Rulemaking

6. The Pan-European General Principles on Discretion

7. The Pan-European General Principles on Legal Certainty and Protection of Legitimate Expectations in Administrative Matters

8. The Pan-European General Principles on Administrative Procedure and Procedural Rights

9. The Pan-European General Principles on Administrative Sanctions

10. The Pan-European General Principles on Public Procurement and other Competitive Award Procedures

11. The Pan-European General Principles on Freedom of Information and Transparency

12. The Pan-European General Principles on Data Protection in the Public Sector

13. The Pan-European General Principles on (Local) Public Services and the Rights of their Users

14. The Pan-European General Principles on Spatial Planning

15. The Pan-European General Principles on Judicial Review in Administrative Matters

16. The Pan-European General Principles on Non-Judicial Review and Oversight in Administrative Matters

17. The Pan-European General Principles on Public Liability for Administrative Action

18. The Pan-European General Principles on Digitalisation of Public Administration, E-Government and (Semi-) Automated Administrative Decision Making Processes

III. Context of the Project with the ReNEUAL Working Group 2.1.: "Common European Principles of Administrative Law and Good Administration"

ReNEUAL Working Group 2.1. focuses on certain fundamentals principles of administrative law shared by the national administrative laws of European States, the legal order of the European Union and the law of the Council of Europe. It develops the comparative analysis and the examination of supranational rules carried out for the elaboration of the Model Rules in two main directions.

The research project on the development of the pan-European general principles of good administration is one of two 'pillars' of the work of ReNEUAL Working Group 2.1. The other 'pillar' of this working group is the project 'The Common Core of European Administrative Law (CoCEAL)' funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme – Advanced Grant – Excellent Science (grant agreement No 694697) organisad by Giacinto della Cananea and Mauro Bussani.

ReNEUAL Working Group 2.1. is therefore, in reality, a "joint venture" of two externally funded projects carried out by the leaders of working group 2.1, which aims to disseminate the results of the said projects and to connect their outcomes with the other ReNEUAL research endeavours and working groups. Considered as a whole, these projects may give rise to a "European Administrative Law Toolbox", unveiling the deeper rationale of legal tools, considered necessary, or at least helpful, to ensure key democratic principles in states governed by the rule of law, such as the protection of individuals’ rights by the administration, transparency and the democratic legitimation of the administration and its actions.

For the commonalities and differences of the (approaches) of the CoCEAL-Project and the project on the pan-European general principles of good administration and the CoCEAL project:

IV. Project Related Publications

  • U. Stelkens, 'Europäisches Verwaltungsrecht, Europäisierung des Verwaltungsrechts und Internationales Verwaltungsrecht' in P. Stelkens, H. J. Bonk, M. Sachs, H. Schmitz and U. Stelkens, Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz (C. H. Beck, 10th edition 2023), pp. 19 - 140 (especially para. 1 - 35)
  • U. Stelkens, 'Die paneuropäischen allgemeinen Rechtsgrundsätze guter Verwaltung des Europarats: Ein Europäisches Verwaltungsrecht jenseits der Europäischen Union?', (2021) 112 Verwaltungsarchiv, pp. 309 - 343

For the table of contents, the abstracts of its chapters and the authors of the 28 country reports included click here

  • U. Stelkens, 'Les principes généraux paneuropéens de bonne administration – Présentation d'un projet' in P. Cossalter and G. J. Guglielmi (eds.), L'Internationalisation du droit administratif (Éditions Panthéon-Assas, 2020), pp. 259 - 288