The ‘Common Core’ of Administrative Laws in Europe: A Research Agenda

29 Pages Posted: 11 May 2018

See all articles by Giacinto della Cananea

Giacinto della Cananea

Bocconi University (Milan, Italy) - Law Department

Date Written: January 30, 2018


It is self-evident that administrative law has evolved, and remarkably, over time. Understanding the nature of this evolution, and its consequences, is more difficult, in particular from a comparative perspective. This paper delineates the theoretical background and operational methodology of a research that aims at ascertaining whether such connecting elements, or a “common core”, exist in European administrative laws and, if so, whether they can be formulated in legal terms, as opposed to generic idealities. After a quick introduction, the paper is divided into three parts. Part 2 illustrates the background, in two respects. It delineates the transformation of administrative law within European countries and illustrates the variety of views about the possibility to compare the legal systems of Europe. In Part 3, the traditional approaches to comparative administrative law are considered critically. It is argued that there are two main difficulties with: the tendency to juxtapose a variety of legal systems, without really comparing them, and the excessive emphasis on institutional design. In part 4, the main choices of the research are explained; that is its purpose is that of the advancement of knowledge, as opposed to the attempt to harmonize national laws, the focus on administrative procedure, and the choice of legal systems. Last but not least, there is a combination of a synchronic comparison, based on a ‘factual’ approach which draws on the experience gathered in the context of the ‘Common Core of European private law’, with a diachronic comparison; that is, a retrospective that sheds light on some aspects of history of legal institutions that look particularly relevant for understanding the processes of cross-fertilization.

Keywords: comparative administrative law; Europe; common core

Suggested Citation

della Cananea, Giacinto, The ‘Common Core’ of Administrative Laws in Europe: A Research Agenda (January 30, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Giacinto Della Cananea (Contact Author)

Bocconi University (Milan, Italy) - Law Department ( email )

Via Roentgen, 11
Milano, Milano 20136

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