‘Independence vs. Accountability’: Dilemma or Misperception?
Review of European Administrative Law, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2011
40 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2010 Last revised: 10 Jun 2014
Date Written: November 26, 2010
Independent agencies are often placed within the ‘independence vs. accountability’ dilemma. A classic question has become whether agencies can be held to account if they are independent. This paper argues that discussing independent agencies through this dilemma leads to certain misperceptions. Firstly, independent agencies are not independent. Secondly, they can be accountable, and if they are not, this is not simply caused by agencies’ independence. This paper calls for an appropriate definition to nuance the expectation one could have from the term ‘independent’ and points out several directions for future academic consideration on the accountability of ‘independent’ agencies. It uses a comparative legal approach and focuses on US and EU independent agencies to exemplify the mentioned issues.
Keywords: independent agencies, accountability, US agencies, european agencies
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