The Public Law Perspective
This chapter argues that public law should constitute an important part of the regulatory regime for government contracting. Public law is designed to address the special features of government: its role in providing a core of public services, its monopoly over many areas of life, its special powers, and its responsibility to the electorate. Public law plays a role in constituting government and facilitating its activities, in constraining government and guarding against the abuse of power, and in ensuring accountability. These public law tasks are highly relevant to government contracting. Public law rules are required to make the government accountable to citizens, to facilitate its contracting activities, and to protect contractors. The chapter rejects criticisms of public law as a concept and argues that greater public law regulation of government contracting might help to address concerns about the public/private divide and about the greater role played by private firms in the delivery of public services.
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