Nobody's Law pp 131-146 | Cite as

Front-Line Officials and Public Law

  • Marc Hertogh
Part of the Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies book series (PSLS)


The third case study examines how front-line officials move away from public law. The chapter zooms in on a small group of officials who were all actively involved in the re-development of a run-down neighborhood in the Netherlands. More in particular, this case explores how they understand the concept of the Rechtsstaat (rule of law), which plays a central role in Dutch constitutional and administrative law. The chapter concludes that these local street-level bureaucrats perceive public law as distant, alien and illegitimate. Most officials are ‘cynics’ (with strong feelings of ‘legal powerlessness’ and ‘legal cynicism’ toward public law) while some of them also qualify as ‘outsiders’ (with clear signs of ‘legal value-isolation’).


Street-level bureaucracy Local government Public law Rechtsstaat 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Socio-Legal Studies, Faculty of LawUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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