Special Interest Legislation and Legislative Capture

Meßerschmidt K (2019)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Book chapter / Article in edited volumes

Publication year: 2019

Publisher: Springer Nature Switzerland

Edited Volumes: Conceptions and Misconceptions of Legislation

Series: Legisprudence Library

City/Town: Schweiz

Book Volume: 5

Pages Range: 243-272

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-12068-9_10


To date special interest legislation (SIL) is terra incognita to European legisprudence. While Public Choice Theory and North American studies of Law and Economics are largely recognized, their impact on the theory of legislation is very limited. In this chapter, I will argue in favour of an unbiased analysis of the input and output of legislation in terms of competing societal and economic interests and work towards establishing the legal foundations as well as the limitations to special interests in legislation. Critical attention for the issue of SIL does not necessarily stem from a populist bias. More on the converse, it is consistent with contemporary pluralism. Thus, opponents of SIL do not originate exclusively from the circles of believers in the neutral role of the state, but also from the neoliberal critics of the welfare state who emphasise the inseparable relationship between state intervention and vested interests. In the second part of my paper, I will suggest constitutional law arguments in defence of the articulation of interests on the one hand and constitutional law criteria setting limits to SIL on the other. Although there is no explicit ban on SIL, limitations arise from the restrictions on special, individualised legislation and the prohibition of arbitrary action. Moreover, the principles of proportionality and coherence contribute to a rationality control of legislation, which can help to reveal detrimental effects of special interest influence. Another focal point will be the relationship between state aid law and SIL. While substantive criteria are a way of combating excess, supplementary procedural provisions are in place to prevent legislative capture and dispel fears of post-democracy.

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How to cite


Meßerschmidt, K. (2019). Special Interest Legislation and Legislative Capture. In A. Daniel Oliver-Lalana (Eds.), Conceptions and Misconceptions of Legislation. (pp. 243-272). Schweiz: Springer Nature Switzerland.


Meßerschmidt, Klaus. "Special Interest Legislation and Legislative Capture." Conceptions and Misconceptions of Legislation. Ed. A. Daniel Oliver-Lalana, Schweiz: Springer Nature Switzerland, 2019. 243-272.

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