Affiliations: Lecturer at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
Abstract: Appointments of members of independent administrative agencies are claimed to be the most effective tool of retaining political control over these agencies. However, even if politicians hold considerable discretionary power in deciding upon their membership, legal rules ensuring credibility of such appointments cannot be underestimated. The author argues that properly drawn rules may stipulate the necessary prerequisites for making a credible appointment, assure democratic scrutiny in the process of appointments, and stabilize the policy of an agency. An independent administrative agency also seems to be the most effective form of regulating media broadcasting and general network industries. The paper presents key issues regarding their operation in an unstable legal environment on the lines of a Polish case adjudicated by the Constitutional Tribunal, and is also an attempt of drawing some more general conclusions. Independent administrative agencies are often presented as the fourth branch within political systems of modern industrial democracies. The process of strengthening these agencies is ongoing (including sometimes constitutionalization), but it is difficult to assume today that these agencies will emerge as fully distinguished independent branch within the system of separation of powers in the foreseeable future. The last issue presented in this article considers regulation, self-regulation, and co-regulation. The author argues that at least in countries where the principle of subsidiarity was adopted, this principle can be helpful in drawing the borderlines between the area of regulation, self-regulation, and co-regulation.