Since the 1990s, the two key components of public law—the law itself and the State—have gone through an unavoidable process of change brought on by transformations within society itself. Thus, the law—taken in the broadest sense of the term—has come to have its fields of competency challenged by non-obligatory, quasi-legal instruments, such as official guidelines, which have led to the emergence of the idea of “soft law”. The State itself—traditionally described using models of the liberal State and subsequently models of the social State—now better fits into the mould of the “propelling State” (C.-A. Morand, 1991). The State is no longer merely understood in terms of its regulatory or social functions, but rather within the perspective of public policies which encompass all these different types of law. These two changes reveal the law’s total transformation. Switzerland’s public administration system cannot escape these dual changes. The purpose of this course is, therefore, to present, analyse and explain these twin changes by combining theoretical and practical knowledge. More precisely, on the one hand, we will aim to understand the diversity of standards governing and regulating public action and citizen’s behaviours. On the other hand, we will study the use and effectiveness of these standards in regard to the definition and application of selected public policies and in compliance with the legal principle according to which “the law is the basis and limit of the State's activity”.