Thursday, June 2, 2016

Bocksang Hola's "Birth of Independent Chile’s Administrative Law"

We were pleased to meet a fellow historian of administrative law, Gabriel Bocksang Hola, at the conference on comparative administrative law at the Yale Law School in April.  He is Profesor de Derecho Administrativo, Facultad de Derecho, at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.  He is also the author of a monumental history, El Nacimiento del Derecho Administrativo Patrio de Chile, published by Thomson Reuters in 2015.  Here is a translation of a summary of its contents.
It is often thought that the origins of Administrative Law in Chile are recent and that its development was mainly shaped by foreign models. The reality, however, is quite different. From the First National Meeting of the Government of Chile (1810) through the widespread application of the Chilean Civil Code (ca. 1860), through war, political disturbance and constitutional instability, an administrative order flourished in this country. Although it had deep roots in Spanish colonial law, it developed in a Republican context alongside the other institutional innovations of the time.

Essential aspects of Chile’s current Rule of Law originated in this often overlooked period.  These include constitutional supremacy, the responsibility of the State, public property, the legality of administrative unilateral acts and administrative contracts, judicial review, the promotion of public service, and the fundamental lines of its administrative organization.

The Birth of Independent Chile’s Administrative Law draws upon extensive research in constitutional, legislative and administrative sources, hundreds of judicial decisions–many of them unpublished–and scarce doctrinal writings on Public Law of those years to provide the first thorough history of the birth of Administrative Law in independent Chile.