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This chapter provides an overview of comparative administrative law, with particular attention to European jurisdictions and the United States. The underlying conceptual similarity that serves to organize the comparative analysis is the purpose, common to these systems, of rendering public administration both capable and expert, on the one hand, and accountable to a variety of liberal democratic actors, on the other hand. The chapter first discusses what historically was the principal legal tool for achieving neutrality and expertise—the legal guarantees of civil service employment—together with national variations in the professionalization of administration. It then turns to three important types of accountability and the different institutions, rules, and procedures used to achieve these forms of accountability in the legal systems under consideration: the contestation of administrative action before the courts; the involvement of organized interests in administrative policymaking; and informal accountability to the general public through parliamentary ombudsmen and transparency guarantees.

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GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-115, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2012-115

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