Simplification of Administrative Procedures – in Search of Efficiency, Public Interest Protection and Legitimate Expectations

A special issue of Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 18471

Special Issue Editors

Faculty of Public Administration, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: admin & constitutional law; public administration reforms & europeanisation; admin/tax procedures; transparency
Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Babes Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca 400000, Romania
Interests: administrative law; administrative procedures; transparency; public procurement

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Following the most recent trends in public administration within the context of good public governance, and consequently changes in administrative law in supra- and national scales, one cannot overlook the systemic aim of simplifying administrative relations. Administrative procedures in particular are often seen purely as an administrative burden to be removed or at least highly reduced, even though their core function is to enforce sectoral public interest. At the same time, some jurisdictions and administrations tend to regulate and conduct procedures in a too formalized way to act competitively in global market and digitalized operations. Therefore, in all European countries and the EU alike, discussions are taking place on how to guarantee that disputes between public authorities and citizens/businesses are resolved as quickly as possible by means of a simple and amicable procedure (in order to, e.g., build a house or gain social benefits), yet without compromising the standards of careful examination and public interest protection (e.g., collecting taxes, inspection supervision). Various changes that take places according to societal requirements of denormalization—as recently seen during the COVID-19 pandemic—are hence inevitable and also an object of scholar and comparative analyses. Research issues to be address in this Special Issue of Administrative Sciences are, among others, the following:

  • How to balance public interest protection vs. efficient enforcement of individuals’ rights;
  • What the up-to-date directions of general Administrative Procedure Act/Code changes are in order to adapt to the requirements of more efficient administrations, and what the measures adopted are to avoid lengthy back-and-forth proceedings and provide legal certainty;
  • Where to set the limits for red tape reduction in admin law (criteria, best and bad practices);
  • What positive and negative lessons can be learned in practicing ADR in admin law;
  • Which procedural rules might be too rigid and, consequently, which related procedural flaws can be overcome by various institutes through bypassing or healing them; how legal remedies are developing to ensure a balance of protected interests and avoid vexatious litigations;
  • Which role administrative courts need to excise, taking into account principles, such as the rule of law, proportionality, legitimate expectations, res iudicata, and fair trial;
  • What we can learn from COVID-19 pandemic simplifications in admin procedures.

These issues can be explored as a more theoretically based research or empirical analysis and (national) cases studies in both general and sector-specific administrative areas (taxation, migration, construction, social affairs, etc.). We welcome original research as well as review papers, while comparative contributions shall be prioritized.

Dr. Polonca Kovač
Dr. Dacian C. Dragos
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Administrative procedural law
  • Simplification and efficiency
  • Public interest

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 276 KiB  
Article
Organizational and Structural Approaches on Administrative Simplification: The Case of Kosovo
Adm. Sci. 2022, 12(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci12010018 - 21 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3044
Abstract
Administrative simplification is a particular approach that is considered a key aspect to ensure the quality of regulations and legislation. The appropriate organizational and structural approach to managing, coordinating, and monitoring administrative simplification is an important factor. The institutional framework for managing and [...] Read more.
Administrative simplification is a particular approach that is considered a key aspect to ensure the quality of regulations and legislation. The appropriate organizational and structural approach to managing, coordinating, and monitoring administrative simplification is an important factor. The institutional framework for managing and coordinating administrative simplification initiatives has been the subject of discussions in the Government of Kosovo for several years. The objective of this paper is therefore to analyze the institutional set up in the central administration, as well as gaps and challenges, and their implications for the implementation of such reforms in Kosovo. It also presents the context of the reforms implemented by the Kosovo state administration to simplify administration and reduce administrative burdens. Particular attention is paid to the importance, status of implementation, and administration of the Law on General Administrative Procedures. Several recommendations and options have been made based on the findings of this study, the authors’ first-hand experience, and best comparative international practice. Full article
18 pages, 319 KiB  
Article
The Simplification of Procedures in Portuguese Administrative Law
Adm. Sci. 2022, 12(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci12010009 - 06 Jan 2022
Viewed by 3166
Abstract
The present paper intends to provide an overview and a critical assessment of the administrative simplification policies implemented in Portugal over the past 20+ years. Throughout these decades, the major instruments for administrative simplification have been: (i) Decree-Law n. 135/99, of 22 April; [...] Read more.
The present paper intends to provide an overview and a critical assessment of the administrative simplification policies implemented in Portugal over the past 20+ years. Throughout these decades, the major instruments for administrative simplification have been: (i) Decree-Law n. 135/99, of 22 April; (ii) the Simplex programme; (iii) the 2015 new Code of Administrative Procedure and its 2021 amendment; and (iv) the COVID-19 legislation. Although Decree-Law n. 135/99 (i) was the first attempt to specifically address simplification, it was a very thin one. The Simplex programme (ii), created in 2006, was the first cross-sectoral robust policy of simplification; its motto is “the simpler the better” and it encompassed reforms in all government areas aiming at cutting red tape, promoting administrative efficiency, and making the citizens’ and the corporations’ lives easier when dealing with State. The new Code of Administrative Procedure (iii), approved in 2015, brought about specific normative solutions to simplify procedures, namely, prior communications, administrative assistance, procedural conferences, and the electronic one-stop shop. Finally, the COVID-19 legislation (iv) was made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic and by the fact that public health restrictions made it impossible for citizens to establish personal contact with the administration in many cases. Full article
23 pages, 320 KiB  
Article
Simplification of Administrative Procedures through Fully Automated Decision-Making: The Case of Norway
Adm. Sci. 2021, 11(4), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11040149 - 07 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3523
Abstract
Norway has a high degree of digitalisation. In the public sector, there is a long tradition of automation of parts of case management. This includes automation of cases where a public sector body makes a so-called individual administrative decision, that is, a decision [...] Read more.
Norway has a high degree of digitalisation. In the public sector, there is a long tradition of automation of parts of case management. This includes automation of cases where a public sector body makes a so-called individual administrative decision, that is, a decision made in the exercise of public authority through which the rights or duties of one or more specified private persons are determined. In the last five years, various amendments to public sector legislation were proposed by a number of government departments and agencies in Norway to ensure that the relative administrative agency has a legal basis to carry out fully automated individual decisions. This is challenging both from an administrative law and from a data protection law standpoint. Among the main reasons for the move towards fully automated legal decision-making that are mentioned in the preparatory works to the proposed amendments are greater efficiency in decision-making, equal treatment of citizens and a claim that such decisions will be less prone to error than human decisions. This paper examines this trend in Norway and identifies the statutes and regulations that have been amended or are in the process of being amended. It analyses the measures specified in these amendments to safeguard the individual party’s rights, freedoms and legitimate interests. Finally, it discusses the tightrope that must be walked to safeguard important administrative law principles and rules such as protection from arbitrary decisions, the audi alternam partem rule and the right under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation not to be subject to fully automated decisions. Full article
13 pages, 268 KiB  
Article
Simplification of Administrative Procedure on the Example of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary (V4 Countries)
Adm. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11010009 - 25 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3731
Abstract
The article deals with the idea of simplification of administrative procedure on the example of legal regulation that can be found in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. This legal regulation comes from the same or similar evolution and legal conditions. General [...] Read more.
The article deals with the idea of simplification of administrative procedure on the example of legal regulation that can be found in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. This legal regulation comes from the same or similar evolution and legal conditions. General legal regulation of administrative procedure is represented by so called Code of Administrative Procedure. Existence of such code in all mentioned countries might be regarded as a first step towards simplification. Using research methods—dogmatic, normative, and, namely, comparative—the article examines concrete examples of simplification in mentioned countries that have similar approaches in solving this demand. This article mentions possible views (or addressees) on the need of simplifications as well as possible limits of this issue. In this sense, the protection of the public interest and protection of rights of individuals presents certain limitations to simplification. Legal regulation of administrative procedure is complicated. Although each legal regulation is in detail specific, we can find some common solutions in particular legal regulation of simplifications. Such results of this article might be useful (not only) for further comparison in European countries. Full article
17 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
Debureaucratization Limits in Administrative Procedures Codification: Lessons from Slovenia
Adm. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11010001 - 22 Dec 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3899
Abstract
This article explores bureaucratization and its boundaries in the framework of cutting red tape in the regulation of administrative procedures. Law is not an end in itself but should contribute to predictable and thus better relations in society. In this sense, the priority [...] Read more.
This article explores bureaucratization and its boundaries in the framework of cutting red tape in the regulation of administrative procedures. Law is not an end in itself but should contribute to predictable and thus better relations in society. In this sense, the priority protection of public interest—which is characteristic of administrative relations between individual holders of rights and obligations and administrative bodies—presents certain limitations to simplification. Through qualitative research methods (dogmatic, normative, and comparative methods, as well as case studies), this article examines examples of debureaucratization in Slovenia provided by the amendments to the General Administrative Procedure Act. In most cases, e.g., in waiving the right to appeal or broad fiction of service, modifications were not appropriate since constitutional guarantees cannot be subject to “debureaucratization”. However, crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic call for even greater simplification. The approach to address bureaucratization as an obstacle to the economy should therefore be holistic and proportionate. Debureaucratization should be implemented in individual administrative areas rather than by an umbrella law that ensures fundamental administrative principles, and through process optimization rather than deregulation. The results of the analysis are useful for comparable, particularly Central European countries. Full article
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