European Administrative Law
Full course description
Most of what the EU actually does can be qualified as administrative law. A EU measure setting standards for air quality, a fine imposed by the European Commission to a company found guilty of a cartel, a guidance on safety standards issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency are all measures which fall within the scope of administrative law.
While at national level there is a rather clear-cut division between legislative and administrative bodies, and it is not hard to identify what constitutes ‘the administration’, when the EU is involved matters become more complicated. Some of EU law is adopted and executed at EU level. If the Commission investigates the behaviour of a company which it suspects abusing its dominant position, it acts as an administrative authority. At the end of this process, the Commission may then issue an administrative measure, e.g. a fine, against which judicial review will be open before the European Courts. This is a typical case of direct administration.
Most of EU law, however, is not executed by the European institutions themselves. Because of the complexity and the sheer amount of work involved, the EU has, from the outset, needed national administrations to put European policies into effect. First of all, national parliaments need to transpose Directives and operationalise Regulations. If the EU passes a Directive on waste treatment, the national parliaments must create national law e.g. setting percentages of minimum waste recycling, designating the competent authorities in charge of monitoring whether companies comply with the requirements, setting fines for non-compliance etc. The designated national authorities will then have to inspect premises, draw up reports, impose fines etc. In such cases, one talks about indirect administration, because EU law is executed through the national administrations.
In cases of indirect administration, it is generally national rules of administrative law that govern the actions of national authorities. These national rules govern the procedural requirements have to be fulfilled if one asks for a permit, if and at which court one can file an action if the permit is refused and with which means the government can ensure that the requirements for obtaining the permit are enforced. Because national administrations are, in such cases, executing European law, and national courts are adjudicating on European law, national procedural rules have to respect some minimum requirements imposed by the EU legislator and the CJEU. In this way, the EU has been increasingly influencing national administrative law.
The course European Administrative Law covers all these themes: starting from the cases of direct administration (i.e. what is sometimes referred to as ‘the administrative law of the European Union’), where the EU institutions adopt measures of individual and general application, the course moves to discuss situations in which the EU and the national administrations have to cooperate in the execution of European law, and will subsequently discuss the way European law influences national administrative law in the cases of indirect administration.
The student knows and understands the most important overarching concepts of administrative law and he/she is expected to have a thorough knowledge of the administrative law of the European Union and of the influence of European law on the administrative law of the Member States. He/she is able to appraise different administrative law arrangements and their implications, and to draw critical conclusions from the analysis. He/she has practiced to independently conduct research.
This course builds upon the knowledge acquired in the courses Comparative Administrative Law, European Union Law: Foundations and, to a certain extent, European Union Law: Substantive Law.