The 29th NISPAcee Annual Conference

The 30th NISPAcee Annual Conference, Bucharest, Romania, June 2 - June 4, 2022

Excellent conference. I really enjoyed the papers, speakers, schedule and location and great staff!

D.B., United States, 27th NISPAcee Annual Conference 2019, Prague

...relating to public administration and policy. Good opportunities for networking.

N.D., Georgia, 27th NISPAcee Annual Conference 2019, Prague

Excellent participants, argument-driven discussions, impartial and supportive Chairs in the Working Group.

D.G., Republic of North Macedonia, 27th NISPAcee Annual Conference 2019, Prague detail and I really enjoyed the supportive and encouraging atmosphere there. Thank you!

R.B., Lithuania, 27th NISPAcee Annual Conference 2019, Prague

...both in terms of academic quality and logistics, and also social events. It was a true joy.

E.Z., Bulgaria, 27th NISPAcee Annual Conference 2019, Prague

...The special programmes were really excellent and we took home many varied experiences.

P.N., Hungary, 27th NISPAcee Annual Conference 2019, Prague

...Sessions were interesting, scholars were engaging and all the social events were amazing!

B.K., Kazakhstan, 26th NISPAcee Annual Conference 2018, Iasi

Excellent organization, excellent food. Compliments to the organizers, they did a wonderful job!

V.J., Netherlands, 26th NISPAcee Annual Conference 2018, Iasi

...I must say that the PhD pre-conference seminar was the most useful seminar of my life. Very well...

K.V., Czech Republic, 26th NISPAcee Annual Conference 2018, Iasi

... I would even argue that they are the very best - both in terms of scientific content and also entertainment…

P.W., Denmark, 26th NISPAcee Annual Conference 2018, Iasi

An opportunity to learn from other researchers and other countries' experiences on certain topics.

G.A.C., Hungary, 25th Conference 2017, Kazan

Very well organised, excellent programme and fruitful discussions.

M.M.S., Slovakia, 25th Conference 2017, Kazan

The NISPAcee conference remains a very interesting conference.

M.D.V., Netherlands, 25th Conference 2017, Kazan

Thank you for the opportunity to be there, and for the work of the organisers.

D.Z., Hungary, 24th Conference 2016, Zagreb

Well organized, as always. Excellent conference topic and paper selection.

M.S., Serbia, 23rd Conference 2015, Georgia

Perfect conference. Well organised. Very informative.

M.deV., Netherlands, 22nd Conference 2014, Hungary

Excellent conference. Congratulations!

S. C., United States, 20th Conference 2012, Republic of Macedonia

Thanks for organising the pre-conference activity. I benefited significantly!

R. U., Uzbekistan, 19th Conference, Varna 2011

Each information I got, was received perfectly in time!

L. S., Latvia, 21st Conference 2013, Serbia

The Conference was very academically fruitful!

M. K., Republic of Macedonia, 20th Conference 2012, Republic of Macedonia

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 Paper/Speech Details of Conference Program  

for the  30th NISPAcee Annual Conference
  Program Overview
WG9: The Rule of Law & Public Administration
Author(s)  Jowanka Jakubek-Lalik 
  University of Warsaw
Warsaw  Poland
 Title  Populism, authoritarianism and administrative law
File   Paper files are available only for conference participants, please login first. 
Presenter(s)  Jowanka Jakubek-Lalik
Populism, authoritarianism and administrative law

One of the most important, if not the most important function of administrative law is to protect the individual against the abuse of power by the state. The basic constitutional principle - that the public administration bodies may act only on the basis and within the limits of the law - is to protect citizens and ensure the predictability of state actions by limiting the possibility of interfering with their rights and freedoms. It can therefore be said that administrative law is by its very nature populist.

The increase in populism observed in recent years is related to the fact that the so-called „liberal democracy” often did not present an attractive offer for the whole of society, and focused - at least in the perception of a significant part of citizens - on improving the lives only of the elite. Thus, a large part of society feels alienated and abandoned by democratic institutions. People also less and less trust experts; misinformation and fake news are spreading.

Social and economic inequalities, tribalism, and belief in "alternative facts" are increasing, contrary to the rational legacy of the Enlightenment Age. Experts have more and more difficulties with explaining a complicated reality in a language that is understandable to all, and to convinced to scientific reasoning. Growing dissatisfaction with democratic institutions is tipping the scales in favour of populism and supporting authoritarian tendencies.

These processes have a lot to do with administrative law. Not only that, the question may be asked whether lawyers bear some responsibility for these trends and can they answer them? After all, lawyers are trained to seek answers through rational reasoning within a self-contained (and largely self-defined) logical structure. The logical process by which answers and solutions to complex problems are found, however, is not easy to understand for people who do not have the appropriate expert knowledge.

There seems therefore to be a considerable tension between the certainty felt by lawyers in understanding administrative justice, and the uncertainty and confusion felt by those individuals and communities that the system is intended to serve. Undoubtedly, reason and consistent application of rules are better than the arbitrary vagaries of authoritarian power, but the real question remains - how are the courts to express justice, fairness and equity in a manner that is accessible and appropriate to the layman?

Translating these dilemmas relevant to the application of administrative law into a language that is understandable to the general public seems to be the only right way for the future of this branch of law in a democratic state. It also has the potential to prevent public authorities from sliding into authoritarianism. Administrative law, in essence based on populist assumptions, may thus become truly populist.