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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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Discretionary power of public administration and control of public debt (Giovanni Pesce)


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Giovanni Pesce

(Administrative lawyer, Rome, Italy)

Discretionary power of public administration and control of public debt1

Abstract: The purpose of the article is to enquire whether the European and national rules on the government spending power, while at a first glance limiting discretionary power, may on the contrary result in an expansion of the administrative power.

Keywords: discretionary power, sustainability, EU rules, intergenerational equity

1.  Introduction

Discretionary power is a central feature of administrative power, recognized since ancient times as a convenient tool of legal reasoning and defined by Aristotle as means of “correction of the law” (Eth. Nic., 1137, b).

In a narrower usage, discretionary power comes into play when the Administration is called to ascribe a meaning to a specific fact by choosing among several possible meanings.

Discretionary is the power of choice: it is a way of balancing between different interests (public and private) involved; it is a means to achieve the purpose intended by the law; it is a selection of an option between two or more solutions suggested by a preliminary activity.

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