The Double Face of the Rule of Law in the European Legal Order: An Administrative Law Perspective

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Table of Contents: I. The paradox of the European rule of law. – II. The rule of law in the modern State and in the European legal order. – III. The genetic heritage of the rule of law in the European legal order. – IV. Technocratic legitimacy and the progressive construction of a living constitution. – V. Administrative law and constitutional law in the European legal order. – VI. Reconnecting citizens to the European institutions: the role of law in Europe. – VII. The rule of law in action from the administrative law standpoint.

Abstract: This Article aims to outline three problematic aspects arising from the peculiar, composite nature of the European legal system considering its many asymmetries. The first element is of a cultural-historical nature, and the goal is to highlight that, in terms of scientific and methodological ascendancy, the European order came into being with a different genetic heritage from that of modern States. The second aspect concerns the relationship between economics and law and the growing process of “juridification” of economic rules. The aim is to show how this process may have altered the traditional concept of the rule of law as it has taken shape in democracies. The third part explores the idea that this may have affected the diversified and asymmetric development of administrative and constitutional law in the European legal order. It then looks at how this asymmetry may have contributed to the aforementioned disconnect between citizens and institutions. The Article concludes by arguing that the attempt to reconnect European citizens and Institutions needs to start from a non-infrastructural and non-instrumental concept of law and from a consistent balance in the relationship between administrative and constitutional law.

Keywords: rule of law – European legal order – legitimacy – democracy – administrative law – constitutional law.

European Papers, Vol. 5, 2020, No 1, pp. 237-253
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/391

* Full Professor of Administrative Law, Department of Law, LUISS Guido Carli (Rome),


European Forum


Forum Européen


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Foro Europeo