Accueil > Public authorities: a cross-country comparative


Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


Basic knowledge in constitutional and administrative law and fair understanding of basic legal concepts in English.

Course Description

The purpose of the course is to introduce you to the administrative organization of a number of significant Western countries: the United States of America and Germany (for both: federal system and some selected states), the United Kingdom (with particular emphasis on England), Spain and France. After having reviewed the different legal methods applying to our topic, the main techniques of administrative law and the general constitutional and administrative structure of each country, we shall explore in detail the following key issues: (1) the organization of the central government with its administrative subdivisions and agencies ; (2) the institutional framework of the whole range of local authorities and ; (3) the court system conducting the judicial control over the former bodies. Once the course is completed, you will be fully acquainted with some paradigmatic and very diverse public administration systems. You shall also have acquired the tools allowing you to understand public authorities in countries not covered by the course.


SOHNLE, Jochen (Professor of public law, Nancy law faculty, University of Lorraine)

Pedagogical format

Combining lecture, guided and spontaneous oral participation, student presentations and debates, the seminar provides many opportunities for students to engage. They include in particular studies on countries not covered by the course, which can be the subject of oral presentations and/or individually written essays.

Course validation

You shall be evaluated through the quality of your oral participation during the courses (20% of your grade), an oral team presentation (40%) and your individually written research essay (40%).


Each week/session, you will be expected to read the assigned compulsory literature and to participate in the class debates. During the course, you will also have to team up with another student and prepare and make a 20 minutes presentation on a selected topic in relation with the subject of a specific session. Both students are expected to take the floor and the presentation must be backed with 5 to 10 power point slides. In addition, you will be expected to write and deliver a research essay (4,000 words, with references and personal assessment) on a relevant topic of your choice.

Required reading

  • Christopher Forsyth, William Wade, Administrative Law, Oxford University Press, 11th edition 2014 (960 pages on England and the UK)
  • Keith Werhan, Principles of Administrative Law, West Academic Publishing, Concise Hornbook Series, 2nd edition 2014 (440 pages on the USA)
  • Mahendra P. Singh, German Administrative Law: In Common Law Perspective, Springer, Series: Beiträge zum ausländischen öffentlichen Recht und Völkerrecht (Book 149), 2nd edition, 2002, 2010 (377 pages)
  • Elena Merino Blanco, Spanish Law and Legal System, Sweet & Maxwell, 2nd revised edition, 2006 (420 pages)
  • L. Neville Brown, John S. Bell, with the assistance of Jean-Michel Galabert, French Administrative Law, Oxford University Press, 5th edition, 1998 (392 pages)