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Discretionary Power of Public Administration

Its Scope and Control


Edited By Leszek Leszczyński and Adam Szot

The book analyzes various aspects and examples of public administration discretionary power within the processes of law application. It presents a variety of factors that may affect the range of discretion as well as the influence on public administration’s reasoning. The authors evaluate the complexity of forms and procedures for control of decision latitude that is exercised by the public administration and the society.

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Administrative Discretion in the Light of Theory of Representative Bureaucracy (Mateusz Stępień)


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Mateusz Stępień

(Associate Professor, Jagiellonian University, Poland)

Administrative Discretion in the Light of Theory of Representative Bureaucracy

Abstract: The aim of the paper is to reconstruct and identify the role of administrative discretion in the theory of representative bureaucracy – to analyze administrative discretion considering its broader context.

Keywords: administrative discretion, representative bureaucracy, passive representation, active representation

1.  Introduction

Discretion is one of the fundamental concepts in studies exploring decision-making processes and in general discussion on law, including especially the judicial application of law. However, it occupies a special place within studies of Public Administration. In the words of R. Cox, “seemingly no aspect of Public Administration engenders more discussion and controversy than the idea of discretion”1. Hence it is not surprising how much attention is paid to that issue – an understanding of the problem as well as range of methods involved in implementation and control of administrative discretion (further also referred to as AD) have, after all, colossal significance for civil rights. It strongly affects not only the status and functioning of public administration (further also as PA), but also the shape of the democratic order. Although the idea of administrative discretion has received a lot of attention, it has not yet been exhaustively developed. A fundamental weakness of existing approaches is that they examine AD without considering a broader context, which would include a comprehensive vision of PA.


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