Expert Accountability and the Rule of Law: Intertwinement of Normative and Functional Standards?
In: Alessandra Arcuri and Florin Coman Kund (eds.) Technocracy and multilevel governance: What role for accountability? Routledge Forthcoming
14 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 21, 2020
Does the rule of law require legal accountability of expert decision-making? In order to answer that question, the scope and meaning of the rule of law ideal needs to be made clear. In this contribution, I argue that although the rule of law is a core normative idea for law, it is more widely applicable and also has relevance to other contexts than legal institutions. However, in order to be relevant for the context of expert decision-making it needs to be related to the functional requirements of that domain. This means, first, an argument on whether expert decision-making can be viewed as an exercise of power that ought to be governed by rule of law standards. I do this by reflecting on the ways in which experts have authority in terms of the notion of practical authority. I argue that their authority is hybrid, liquid and relative and that this has consequences for the way their legitimacy can be achieved. Second, I consider the way in which the rule of law may apply to expert bodies and how expert decision-making can be assessed in terms of rule of law standards. This leads to an argument about the entanglement of different aspects of expert decisionmaking as a rule of law problem.
Keywords: practical authority, accountability, expertise, science and law, legitimacy, transnational law
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