Controlling administrative power : an historical comparison


Controlling administrative power : an historical comparison

Peter Cane

Cambridge University Press, 2016

  • : pbk
  • : hardback

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Summary: "The research reported in this book (which was significantly funded by the Australian Research Council) was originally conceived to provide an account of administrative law as a normative framework for public administration. However, once I started reading more widely and deeply into the topic I began to think that it would be more interesting and fruitful to reverse the order and explore the idea of public administration as the institutional framework or context of administrative law. The next step in my mind was to broaden focus from administrative law to arrangements more generally for controlling the conduct of public administration and the exercise of public administrative power. By this line of thinking I finally arrived at the topic of this book, namely the institutional and constitutional framework or foundations of what I call 'control regimes', by which I mean sets of institutions, norms and practices concerned with controlling public administrative power"-- Provided by publisher

Includes bibliographical references (p. 521-565) and index



This wide-ranging comparative account of the legal regimes for controlling administrative power in England, the USA and Australia argues that differences and similarities between control regimes may be partly explained by the constitutional structures of the systems of government in which they are embedded. It applies social-scientific and historical methods to the comparative study of law and legal systems in a novel and innovative way, and combines accounts of long-term and large-scale patterns of power distribution with detailed analysis of features of administrative law and the administrative justice systems of three jurisdictions. It also proposes a new method of analysing systems of government based on two different models of the distribution of public power (diffusion and concentration), a model which proves more illuminating than traditional separation-of-powers analysis.


  • 1. Introduction: concepts and methodology
  • 2. The English system of government
  • 3. The US system of government
  • 4. The Australian system of government
  • 5. The development and institutional structure of control regimes
  • 6. Administrative interpretation
  • 7. Administrative fact-finding and policy-making
  • 8. Administrative rule-making
  • 9. Administrative adjudication
  • 10. Private law controls
  • 11. Controlling information
  • 12. The new public management
  • 13. Controlling the controllers
  • 14. Concluding reflections on methodology and themes.

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