Public policy (Ro.: politici publice, Fr.: politique publique, Es.: política pública, B/C/S: javna politika, Alb.: polikat publike, Gr.: δημόσια τάξη) (See also: ordre public, public policy objection, overriding mandatory provisions, overriding mandatory provisions vs. public policy) = established to protect fundamental values of the society and public interest of the state. It consists of laws, regulatory measures, courses of action and funding strategies concerning a given topic promulgated by a governmental entity. Oftentimes, it also includes concepts of philosophy, economics, political science, medicine, ethics, etc. 

Law and Public Policy (Comparison) 

Public policy outlines what a certain executive body strives to achieve, including the methods and principles which will be used. Public policy is formulated in a policy document which is not a law, but will often require new laws to achieve its goals. Laws set out standards, procedures and principles that must be followed. Basically, public policy sets out the goals and planned activities but it is necessary to pass a law to enable government to put in place the necessary institutional and legal frameworks to achieve their aims. 

Overriding Mandatory Rules and Public Policy (Comparison) (See also: overriding mandatory rules, public policy, public interest)

Both institutions protect a certain interest of a country which can be described as public interest. Public policy defines fundamental values of a society and provides protection through laws which are an integral part of it. Therefore, the public policy is not just a law, but an interdisciplinary, complex system which incorporates certain legislation in order to ensure positive application. On the other hand, overriding mandatory rules are legal provisions set to protect a certain value of utter importance to the society.

When it comes to the objects of their protection, in case of overriding mandatory rules public interest needs to be very narrowly defined, labeled, articulated and connected by a particular group of persons. Public policy does not require labeling of public interest, nor the identification of this group of persons, but the results which ought to be achieved. 


Useful resources

Legislation - Regulation (EC) No 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I) [English] - Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (Brussel I) [English]

Case law - Judgment of the Court (Fifth Chamber) of 20 February 1997. - Commission of the European Communities v Frédéric Daffix - Case C-166/95 P. - Judgment of the Court of 2 April 1998. - Commission of the European Communities v Chambre syndicale nationale des entreprises de transport de fonds et valeurs (Sytraval) and Brink's France SARL. - Case C-367/95 P. - Judgment of the Court (Fifth Chamber) of 30 March 2000. - Coöperatieve Vereniging De Verenigde Bloemenveilingen Aalsmeer BA (VBA) v Florimex BV, Vereniging van Groothandelaren in Bloemkwekerijproducten (VGB). - Appeal - Competition - Decision rejecting a complaint - Case C-265/97 P. – Judgement of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 22 May 2012 - Case C 348/09

Online Publications - Fischer, F. and Miller, G.J. eds., 2006, Handbook of public policy analysis: theory, politics, and methods, crc Press. - Geurts, T., 2011. Public Policy Making: The 21 st Century Perspective, Be Informed -  2671_2014_007_003_005.pdf - Laura Maria, B., 2014, Overriding Mandatory Rules as a Vehicle for Weaker Party Protection in European Private International Law, Erasmus Law Review No.3 - de Boer, Th. M., 2007, Unwelcome foreign law: public policy and other means to protect the fundamental values and public interests of the European Community. The external dimension of EC private international law in family and succession matters


Belohlávek, A.J, 2012, B2C arbitration: consumer protection in arbitration, Juris Publishing, Inc.

Clarkson, C., Hill, J, 2011, The conflict of laws. Oxford University Press

Corr, J.B., 1984, Modern Choice of Law and Public Policy: The Emperor Has the Same Old Clothes, University of Miami Law Review no. 39

Fox, W, Sayeed, B, Naas, F, 2007, A guide to managing public policy. Juta and Company Ltd, 2007.

Goodwingill, GS, 2007, Ordre Public Considered and Developed, Law Quarterly Review 94, no. JUL (1978): 354-358.

Mataković, H, Cajner Mraović, I., 2014, Public policies creation in diverse national contexts, Pravni vjesnik 30, no. 3-4 (2014).

Petak, Z, 2002, Comparative Public Policy: Can government activity be compared. Politička misao 39, no. 1: (2002): 51-62.


By Naida Softic