Under the influence of EU law and the ECHR, proportionality has developed into a central feature of contemporary European administrative law, at both national and Union level. The article examines this development with respect to the three EU Member States, namely Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. These Nordic legal systems share certain fundamental conceptions of law, such as: the limited importance of legal formalities and the associated ‘pragmatism’; the more limited role of all-embracing legal principles; and the central role of and trust in the legislator. These Nordic experiences may therefore differ from both continental (‘civil law’) and Anglo-Saxon (‘common law’) attitudes to proportionality, and may contribute to the bigger picture of some features of the Europeanisation phenomenon. The main question for the article is how the principle of proportionality in administrative law has developed and responded to this European influence in the three states.
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