The Bingham Centre, joined by the Italian Council of State (Consiglio di Stato), hosted a conference on Friday, 23 November which explored the proposal before the EU Parliament (EP) to codify good administrative practice within EU institutions (EU (2012/2024 (INI)). Professor Paul Craig QC began the conference with a look at general options for codification ranging from the very broad (i.e. codification of general principles) to the very specific (i.e. codification of all substantive and procedural principles), and discussed whether, in the context of EU codification, the resulting legislation would apply only to EU institutions, or the Member States in implementing EU law as well. Professor Luigi Berlinguer, the lead author of the EP proposal, discussed its background and intended scope arguing strongly that the time was ripe for clear standards of good administration, in line with general principles as well as Article 41 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The conference then shifted its focus to international models of codification. Professor Cora Hoexter of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, one of the architects of their Promotion of Administrative Justice Act of 2000, related how in its 12 years it has had a positive effect in terms of issue awareness, but how, due to particular deficiencies in the drafting of the term "administrative action", the Act had been by-passed by the emergent practice of referring to rule of law principles as a means of protecting individuals in their dealings with the executive as well as the administration. Professor Mario Chiti of the University of Florence followed with a comparative look at Italy and some other continental European States and spoke in favour of administrative pluralism that would balance competence for administrative procedure between the EU institutions and the Member States. Dr Jeff King of UCL considered the examples of the United States and Germany. To close, Professor Emeritus Carol Harlow of the LSE commented on the text of the EP proposal and suggested that codification at the EU level may be a useful way to bring consistency into administrative proceedings that may otherwise be difficult to achieve owing to the varied backgrounds of EU civil servants.
The Bingham Centre, together with the Italian Council of State, intend to take forward this study so as to contribute to the development of the EU proposals.