|The “rule of law” is a traditional legal and administrative principle, aimed at limiting the power of the state, governmental institutions and officials in their relations toward citizens and other subjects and at ensuring that authoritative decisions are legally based and sound. The rule of law is known in various legal traditions, but evolved over time through different cultural and political-administrative systems. Nowadays, it represents a set of complementary (sub)principles and special guarantees, such as proprietor rights, access to information, right to be heard, judicial review of administrative acts, etc. In sum, the rule of law is a “supra” principle of good administration and sound public governance. In Central and East Europe (CEE) in particularly, the rule of law in administrative relations is also one of the salient elements of the on-going transitional development compared to the “old”, Western European or US democracies. Therefore, it is an important part of PAR regarding contemporary governance models. The rule of law in any part or form is thus essential for the reforms and sustainable progress of supranational, national and subnational administrations worldwide. However, within the processes of privatisation, globalisation and marketization, the rule of law is challenged; even with PAR that might undermine the core principles of democratic governance.
Therefore, a content analysis of the evolving forms of the rule of law, such as a shift away from the strict “rule of law” view (as typical for the Weberian model of bureaucracy) to a more open and decentralised understanding of managing relations between citizens and the state by NPM and PSG will be studied, based on a previous research (Kovač, P., Jukić, T. (2017). Declarations and reality of Europeanised public administration in EE: journals content analysis in Slovenia and Croatia. Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences, 50E: 127–145). Attention will be paid to the “rule of law” principle and the potential conflict of this principle with the contemporary public administration models especially as far as effectiveness and efficiency are considered. A qualitative analysis will be performed on the ratio between legality and some key principles of modern administration. CEE trends will be compared through a selection of the most cited article in Google Scholar and WoS on “rule of law” and “public governance”, published after 2001. We will conduct a research on the selected elements, such as disciplinary (mainly law, political science, economics, or PA interdisciplinary) and doctrinal context (based on the Weberian, NPM or GG governance models) of the article. Moreover, we will explore what is the perceived role of the rule of law in certain frameworks, which are the most inevitably connected principles (e.g. transparency, participation, accountability, efficiency) and what are the most emphasised aspects (which rights) of this principle when modernising governance in general, and CEE in particular.