ABSTRACT. Administrative law is a legal field usually famous for its close links with specific historic features of domestic legal systems. However, states increasingly cooperate on a range of pressing issues (e.g. immigration, cybercrime, international corruption, etc.) relying heavily on administrative cooperation. Equally, lawyers are increasingly mobile, changing jobs and countries over the course of their career. These combined evolutions should encourage to revisit how legal education provides young lawyers with tools to facilitate their critical skills. This paper shows that comparative administrative law remains very much an untapped resource to provide these skills. It offers a survey (using a questionnaire) of French and Belgian private/public universities and administrative courts. This empirical methodology is supported by historical and theoretical analysis of the past, present and future of comparative administrative law. Belgian and French legal education includes modules entitled “comparative administrative law” in the academic curriculum. They also develop other tools such as double degrees (“bi-licence” and “bi-maîtrise”) for their students to gain a better understanding of another administrative law system. Beyond these similarities, France and Belgian legal education have their specificities. For instance, Belgian administrative law is often taught from a comparative law perspective which is not necessary the case in France. Whereas Belgian administrative judges develop strategies to learn from the Netherlands, their neighbor, in their daily work a comparative approach, it was rarely the case for the French Conseil d’Etat until the recent set up of an expert unit in comparative law (Cellule de droit comparé). All in all, and although such tools are still few, this paper highlights the diversity of ways in which students are encouraged to become more familiar with foreign legal systems. pp. 47–69

Keywords: comparative administrative law; legal education; France; Belgium; Public Law; administrative courts; European Administrative Law; law schools/universities; Comparative Law degree

How to cite: Bousta, Rhita, and Yseult Marique (2017), “The Status of Comparative Administrative Law: A Comparison between French and Belgian Legal Education,” Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice 9(1): 47–69.

Received 23 January 2016 • Received in revised form 20 June 2016
Accepted 20 June 2016 • Available online 10 July 2016


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University of Essex;
Université Libre de Bruxelles

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