This article analyses the current process of modernization of administrative law and examines whether, and to what extent, the absence of codification has affected its development. In the first part, codification is considered as an instrument of legal rationality and a guarantee of individual rights; in addition, the possible reasons for the specialty of administrative law, as one that, unlike other areas, has never experienced codification, are explored. The second part of the article focuses on the «false start» given by Annex E of Law no. 2248 of 1865, which was meant to be the fundamental law of an administrative system characterized by the rule of law. In its implementation, however, that law was deprived of the essential support of case law and scholarship. The essay then investigates Law no. 241 of 1990 and the «deformations» it has experienced in time. Law No. 241 was supposed to be a strategic text, that would include the citizen’s point of view in the regulation of administrative activities by means of the case law that would define its application. Finally, attention will be paid to the current efforts for reform, which adopt the technique of codification à droit constant, noting the ambiguous context in which this process is taking place.