Impartiality: A Dynamic Principle Redefining Traditional Boundaries in Administrative Law

From a comparative administrative perspective, the principle of impartiality is a new migrating and expanding principle. In continental European administrative systems, impartiality has long been a key requirement for fair trial (cfr. art. 6 ECHR). Under the American influence where administrative justice and active administration (see Mashaw 1983) are traditionally differently delineated than in Europe, impartiality becomes now required increasingly from the active administration, outside any (quasi-) judicial functions, in European countries. Impartiality supersedes previous principles such as independence or neutrality. This presentation will argue that this expansion of impartiality beyond traditional administrative justice goes hand in hand with the redrawing of boundaries between public and private, administrative and criminal, law and ethics, politics and sciences, as it will be illustrated with examples drawn from France, the European Union and the Council of Europe.