chapter  4
20 Pages

Riding the accountability wave? Accountability communities and new modes of governance


The old certainties of administrative law – its location, nature, and purpose – are dissolving; administrative law is now much more varied, diverse, and diffused. As Sedley1 argues, this ‘systematic dispersal of the sites of power beyond the confines of what we had learned to recognize as the state, old certainties of public law are no longer there’.2 While some might take exception to this extension of the boundaries of administrative law, there is little doubt that one of the striking transformations in the industrialized and newly industrialized world is that the exercise of public power is now taking place in sites outside the formal structures of governmental power – a process which decentres and fragments the state.