Nature, Scope, and Growth of German Administrative Law

  • Mahendra P. Singh


Nearly a century and three quarters ago the German jurist Friedrich Karl von Savigny propounded the thesis of the uniqueness of each legal system as a manifestation of the spirit or common consciousness of the people with whom it has naturally and spontaneously evolved.1 Any merits or demerits of this thesis apart, the ever increasing social intercourse among different peoples and their interdependence supported by spectacular scientific advancement since then have brought them so close to one another that the thesis has simply become untenable inasmuch as no legal system today can either claim complete uniqueness or maintain total exclusiveness uninfluenced by the ideas, notions, and practices originated in other legal systems. As late as 1885 the British constitutional lawyer A. V. Dicey concluded that administrative law was a peculiar feature of the continental countries unknown to common law.2 But soon thereafter, much to his disliking, he had to admit the emergence of droit administratif in England — the motherland of common law.3 Today administrative law is admittedly as much an academic discipline and a practical reality in the common-law world as in the continental. Of course, differences in the two systems may be traced with respect to the origin and growth of administrative law, instrumentalities of its manifestation, and many matters of detail. Such differences cannot be ruled out, rather do exist, even among the common-law or continental countries inter se.4 But the central theme that runs through administrative law is the same everywhere.


Administrative Authority Federal Authority Judicial Power Federal Constitutional Municipal Administration 
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  1. 1.
    von Savigny’s first utterance of his views appeared in 1814 in his famous vom Beruf unserer Zeit für Gesetzgebung und Rechtswissenschaft as a reaction to Thibaut’s proposal of codification of German law on the lines of Code Napolion in France although his refined and final version appeared in his System of Modern Roman Law (1840).Google Scholar
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    This is evident from the constitution of the administrative courts in Prussia. The county committees consisted of civil servants and six lay judges. The regional committees consisted of the president of the regional government or his representative and six other members two of whom were legally qualified civil servants. The Prussian Supreme Administrative Court consisted of a president, presidents of the senates and councillors. Half of the councillors were from the higher administration and rest were persons competent to be appointed as judges. All the members of the court, however, enjoyed a life tenure and full independence from the executive which was not available to the members of the committees. Also Ule CH: German Administrative Jurisdiction, 25 Revue Internationale des Sciences Administrativ 173, 175 (1959). The Weimar Constitution of 1919 did not go beyond enjoining the Reich and the Laender to create specialized administrative courts (art 107).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahendra P. Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia

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