PhD Defence: Order in a confusing state


10 February, Ursul Schaap will defend his dissertation on a study into the Court of Audit's use of constitutional values and principles of good governance.

The application by the Netherlands Court of Audit of the legal principles of the democratic rule of law would shed a new light on its choice of subjects, the approach of its investigations, its conclusions and recommendations, and its position in the democratic rule of law. According to the Lower Chamber, public policies should be implemented ‘principles-based'.

The research Order in a confusing state shows that the Court of Audit hardly ever applies constitutional values, such as the principles of good governance, to assess policy. The application of these principles would give a new dimension to the work of the Court of Audit: it would then apply not only the policy objectives, but also the general legal principles which prevail in society and which judges and ombudsmen use to judge public action. This enriches the Court of Audit’s judgements, making them more thorough and more comparable with those of other assessors of public action. The public interest should delineate its field of investigation, starting with follow the money, based on its mandate under Article 76 of the Constitution: the Netherlands Court of Audit is required to examine the revenue and expenditure of the State.

The principles of good governance call for transparency, participation, the application of properness, respect for human rights, effectiveness & efficiency and accountability. Transparency for citizens, participation by citizens and the government itself, properness and human rights give substance to the human dimension. In light of this, effectiveness & efficiency and accountability are discussed. The new public management, which is seen as partly responsible for the childcare allowance affair in the Netherlands, is mainly aimed at effectiveness and efficiency. 
The research shows many examples of confusing situations that can be solved with the principles.

Start date and time
End date and time
Academiegebouw, Domplein 29, Utrecht, en online (livestream link)
PhD candidate
Mr. U.P. Schaap
Ordening in een verwarrende staat
PhD supervisor(s)
prof. mr. H. Kummeling
prof. dr. G.H. Addink
More information
Full text via Utrecht University Repository