Four Meta-Doctrines of Regulatory Accountability in the European Union

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Title: Four Meta-Doctrines of Regulatory Accountability in the European Union
Authors: Maher, ImeldaScott, Colin
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Date: 1-Feb-2017
Online since: 2019-06-10T08:09:38Z
Abstract: Since the establishment of the European Economic Community in 1957, regulation, the promulgation of rules, coupled with mechanisms for monitoring and enforcement, has been a key instrument of governance. Arguably this fact and its implications have only been progressively realised following the publication of the seminal contribution of Giandomenico Majone in the 1990s. This reflection on regulation in the EU occurred at the same time as a double trend in EU regulatory governance, towards requiring or encouraging the development of independent regulatory agencies in the member states, while at the same time growing the number of independent agencies, some with forms of regulatory power, at the level of EU. These measures for the institutionalisation of regulation in agencies, albeit to a greater degree at national level than at EU level, made the dependence of the EU on regulatory instruments simultaneously both more obvious and more challenging. Amongst the core challenges associated with regulatory forms of governance is the delegation of responsibilities for making and for monitoring and enforcing rules. Within the EU this delegation frequently has a double character, since member states have to implement rules set by the EU legislature and then themselves delegate the administrative implementation to agencies. The risks associated with such delegation are reasonably well understood and include the undue accretion of power in organisations which are quite remote from elected government, risks of missions being redfined, excessive zeal (imposing disproportionate costs on regulatees), capture (where agencies identify too strongly with the interests of those they are supposed to regulate), unfairness in the application of regimes which prioritise outcomes over processes, not to mention shirking and inefficiency. We argue in this chapter that in response to these challenges associated with regulatory governance in the EU, and not limited to the establishment of and delegation of power to agencies, there have emerged four sets of principles or meta-doctrines of regulatory accountability in the European Union. We have labelled these doctrines: Independent Regulation and Institutional Balance; Administrative Justice; Value for Money; and Better Regulation. As with the common law, the principles lying within these meta-doctrines are not codified, and the work of scholars, and in which we make a start, is to draw together emergent doctrines from a range of sources including primary and secondary legislation, administrative instruments such as guidance, decisions of oversight bodies such as the ombudsman offices and the courts. We start the chapter with some further elaboration of the concept of the four meta-doctrines, prior to concluding with an evaluation and indications of next steps for exploring and understanding meta-doctrines of accountability in the EU.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Edward Elgar
Start page: 263
End page: 289
Series/Report no.: Research Handbooks in European Law series
Copyright (published version): 2017 the Authors
Keywords: EU regulatory governanceDelegationAccountabilityEuropean Economic Community
DOI: 10.4337/9781784710682
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Is part of: Harlow G., Leino P., della Cananea P. (eds.). Elgar Handbook on EU Administrative Law
ISBN: 978 1 78471 067 5
Appears in Collections:Law Research Collection

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