60 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2020 Last revised: 5 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 26, 2020
This article presents our comparative findings of how courts in five other countries review agency statutory interpretation. These comparisons permit us to understand and participate better in current debates about the increasingly controversial Chevron doctrine in American law, whereby courts defer to reasonable agency interpretations of statutes that the agency administers. Those debates concern, among other things, Chevron’s purported inevitability, functioning, and normative propriety. Our inquiry into judicial review in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia provides useful and unexpected findings. Chevron, contrary to some scholars’ views, is not inevitable because only one of these countries has something analogous to Chevron. Indeed, one country has expressly rejected Chevron in dicta. Nevertheless, all but one or two of the countries (depending how one counts) have at least some limited space for deference to agency statutory interpretations. We do not call for American law to wholesale adopt any particular country’s form of judicial review. But our comparative study provides useful suggestions for improving Chevron’s overall functioning and for better grounding it on its theoretical foundations.
Keywords: judicial review, administrative law, Chevron deference, comparative law
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