Volume 17 (2011)

Volume 17 (2011) / Issue 2

Magdalena Elisabeth de Leeuw, 'The European Ombudsman’s Role as a Developer of Norms of Good Administration' (2011) 17 European Public Law, Issue 2, pp. 349–368


European Ombudsman, the principle of good administration, norm development, European Code of Good Administrative Behaviour, ethics.

This article analyses and discusses the role of the European Ombudsman (EO) as a developer of norms of good administration. Empirical research conducted by the applicant reveals that the EO is actively creating norms of good administration in his decisions on individual complaints. In this article, the normative view will be advanced that the EO has his own task and responsibility in respect of the review of administrative behaviour, which is different from the task and responsibility of the Court. Administrative bodies do not only have to act lawfully but also in accordance with the principle of good administration. In the author's view, the EO has his own responsibility in autonomously developing the ethical standard of good administration and developing norms of good administration and to review administrative behaviour for compliance with that standard. However, not everybody shares the view that the Ombudsman should do something else than the Court. Moreover, objections have been raised against standard-setting activities by the Ombudsman, questioning his democratic credentials and maturity. If the Ombudsman embraces the new view in respect of his role as a creator of norms of good administration, he would have to adapt his current mode of operation in a number of respects.

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ISSN: 1354-3725
ID: EURO2011024