The Evolution of General Administrative Law and the Emergence of Postmodern Administrative Law

55 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2011

See all articles by Karl-Heinz Ladeur

Karl-Heinz Ladeur

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 21, 2011


The discussion on the emergence of global administrative law is centered around the question: “Is it law?” and problems of accountability. This is a narrow perspective which ignores the autonomy of the administrative “internal law” generated by administrative agencies themselves. This is shown for the evolution of domestic administrative law in the 19th century and its transformations in the 20th century. Domestic administrative law is only to a much lesser extent a product of courts or legislators than hitherto taken for granted. This is why it should not come as a surprise that the instruments and forms of global administrative law are generated by transnational administrative networks of agencies. The evolution of both domestic and transnational administrative law will allow for new heterarchical forms of accountability and legitimation once the focus on a hierarchical concept of delegation is given up. The paper tries to outline a perspective on the transformation of administrative law based on domestic administrative law but at the same time intends to open a perspective on a new look at the emergent global administrative law.

Keywords: accountability, global administrative law, autonomy, administrative “internal law”, Domestic administrative law, transnational administrative networks of agencies, new heterarchical forms of accountability, legitimation, delegation, transformation

JEL Classification: K39

Suggested Citation

Ladeur, Karl-Heinz, The Evolution of General Administrative Law and the Emergence of Postmodern Administrative Law (March 21, 2011). Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 16/2011. Available at SSRN: or

Karl-Heinz Ladeur (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Law ( email )

Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1
20146 Hamburg
040/ 42838- 5752 (Phone)
040/ 42838- 2635 (Fax)


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