The fundamental and long-established distinction between public and private law on the Continent developed from Ulpian's distinction in Justinian's Digest, and is thus ancient in origin. This introductory chapter contrasts the recent appearance of institutional, substantive, and procedural manifestations of a comparable public/private distinction in English law through the development of administrative tribunals, public law principles, judicial review procedure, and the Crown Office List of administrative judges. It explains the need for a historical and comparative study of the recent English distinction and the distinction in France's leading system of administrative law, to address issues in the ongoing debate on the late emergence of a significant public/private divide in English law, and to help fill a persisting gap in the related legal literature. The chapter explains its focus on public law in the sense of administrative law and concludes by providing a preview of the book's argument in later chapters.
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