What is Good Governance?

The term of good governance has multiple meanings. It dates back to the 18th century originating from Prussia. Like any other sector of law, State administration is subject to uniform, interrelated system of principles. Such principles constitute inseparable elements of the system; the legislator may develop them, yet no decisions may be made in contradiction with them.

As a rule, the general principles of law are treated as the primary source of law by the States of the Western legal system developed after the World War Two, and their hierarchy (legal effect) is higher than that of laws and constitution. When Latvia re-enacted the Constitution it joined the Western legal system in its present, rather than the pre-war form.

From the aspect of State administration, “good governance” as a general principle of law has external s well as internal dimension. The external dimension represents the relations between the State and individual, and the internal means the interior structure of State administration. The term is used in its narrow sense as well as in wider meaning on both occasions.

The external dimension of good governance in wider sense covers all general principles of law also known as the principles of administrative procedure. As to the narrow sense, we include there the cognitions that are not recognized as regular principles yet.

The internal dimension of good governance should be rather called proper governance. In wider sense it should embrace all other general legal principles on which the State administration is based. In narrow sense, it would only extend to those which are not treated as regular principles yet.

The right to good governance as a subjective right of individual should be understood as a human right developing in this century.