Among the rights conferred on the citizens of Europe by the Charter of
Fundamental Rights and Freedoms is the right to ‘good administration.’ It is
anticipated that the new Reform Constitutional Treaty will operate to make the
Charter and its rights legally binding. This is the first time that any legal
system has proclaimed such a right and then sought to constitutionalise it.
Whether the right to good administration under the Charter represents a new
right, and, if such a right exists, whether it varies according to whether the
executive is mandated to control or steward, is the subject matter of this
thoughtful, unblinkered book.
Grounding her exposition in a deeply-informed engagement with relevant primary
and secondary sources, the author exposes the serious difficulties and
contradictions in the concept of the right to good administration. She
demonstrates that the features of good administration cannot be fixed or fully
enunciated, but are identified only when the conduct of the administration
fails to reach an acceptable standard, a standard that varies over time and
context. And in the modes of the concept most often embraced—such as the
notion of citizen as consumer with marketplace choice, and the notion of
‘consultation,’ a form of participatory democracy which privileges those
individuals and communities who have the political sophistication to organise
themselves and further marginalise large sectors of unorganised society—she
finds a virtual denial of the democratic concept of citizen as sovereign, the
‘creator’ of state power who can dictate the exact limits to be placed on
The extraordinary clarity and conviction of the author’s approach is apparent
in the details of her presentation, which include analysis of the following
factors among others:
• the enforceable content of the right, including the role of the
• the relationship between good governance and good administration;
• the duties of the Commission as administrator;
• the uncertain reach of the concept of maladministration;
• damages in compensation actions as remedy for breach of good administration;
• pre-Charter principles of good administration as agreed in the Council of
Europe and developed by the Courts; and
• the right of access to documentation, especially as it relates to the policy
of language diversity.
The final chapters examine the role of the right to good administration
in the fraught contexts of competition law, Community finances, and the
European environmental framework.
This far-seeing study breaks new ground in the ever more politicized debate
over the future of the European Union. As good administration is the mechanism
by which the principles of good governance are to be delivered, the detailed
attention given to this subject here is more than warranted. It is sure to be
of exceptional value to all concerned with the development of an
administrative institution of integrity and accountability in EU governance.
2. The Nature of the Right to Good Administration.
3. Codes of Practice: Constraining the Exercise of Authority.
4. The Right to Good Administration under the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
5. Good Administration and the Ombudsman.
6. Judicial Review of the Breach of Good Administration.
7. Damages for Breach of Good Administration.
8. Good Administration in the Competition Area.
9. Good Administration of Community Funds.
10. Environmental Claims.