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Administrative liability: a comparative study of French and English Law

Harlow, Carol (1979) Administrative liability: a comparative study of French and English Law. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The argument of this thesis is that the legal liability of the administration in France and England, at first sight very different, is actually very similar. In France, the existence of a separate system of administrative courts with jurisdiction in delictual actions against the administration haG led to a division between public and private law. In practice, however, the distinction is less clear than might be supposed because the substantive rules of public and private law are very similar, while in some cases the State is answerable to the civil courts. Although French law is drafted in terms of general principle in contrast to the English common law, the existing rules of liability are not in practice dissimilar. Two theoretical bases of liability are, however, relatively novel: the risk principle (which applied to the administration can be used to impose liability for all unlawful or invalid administrative acts) and the principle of Equality before Public charges (which can be used as a theoretical basis for a system of administrative compensation). On examination, the adoption of these principles into English law is seen to necessitate a change in our traditional constitutional balance of power. Nor, in any event, are they actually the basis of the French system. Neither French nor English law is, at the end of the day, coherent and all—embracing. Both need to be buttressed by statutory and extra— statutory administrative compensation schemes. These should be seen as an acceptable and efficient substitute for civil liability and their development, co—ordination and rationalisation encouraged accordingly.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 1979 Carol Rhian Harlow
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Departments > Law
Collections > LSE History of Thought theses

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