What Remains of the Public Administration

By Sabino Cassese

On the subject of the public administration, many critical voices have been levelled. Some express the impatience of those who hold political power and expect the administration to be the faithful and mechanical executor of their will; others are more concerned with the effective capacity of the administration to carry out its tasks; others still react to the excessive weight of rules and controls. Against this background, many factors give rise to crisis: some originate externally from the administrations, and the rest from within the same administrative body. On the whole, they cause a significant nar- rowing of the perimeter of action of public administrations, which is in turn the result of a more general tendency to consider administrative law as a field that is dominated by only two tensions: the tension between the law and the administration, and that between the judiciary and the administration.