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Updated: Aug 15, 2021


Administrative Law

French Droit Administratiff:

1) French Administrative Law had some peculiar features, alien to English system of Rule of law, as enunciated by Dicey. It was Dicey who made a reference to the French system in his masterpiece. "Introduction to the study of the constitution" in 1885. He had focused his attention on two peculiarities of the French system :

(1) The Govt's special rights & privileges against the individu al's rights; and

(2) Under seperation of powers, it had kept the Government officials free from the Jurisdiction of the courts. The weight was in favour of administration-. The rules of procedure followed by the courts were not followed by the Tribunals. Viewed from Dicey's angle there was no protection to the ordinary citizen, in French system.

Conseil d' etat.

This is the Council of state (This was founded by Napolean in 1799) It is the supreme Administrative court of Appeal. It has certain subordinates administrative courts called 'Conseil de prefecture' (Courts of the prefects). They are adjudicatory and consultative


Composition :-

It has executive officials as presiding officers: They are selected by competitive examinations and are given special training. The conscilde etat decides its jurisdiction, andprocedures are laid down by it in the form of doctrines. It is also a"n adviser to the Govt. It has developed a spirit of independence. It has powers to execute its judgements directly. According to the Reform of 1900, an aggrieved citizen who receives no rely from Govt., may go in appeal to the Conscil d' etat. Its independence and Jurisdiction are evident from a recent case. Andre canol was convicted by a Military Court. On application by the accused, the Couseil'd etat held that there was a departure from the criminal code. The President De Gaulle tried to interfere but in vain. Today in France there are five sections. Four Administrative and one

among Judicial, operating. Each is headed by a President.

iii) Jurisdiction :-

The lower tribunals have jurisdiction over :-

a) Disputes between citizen & Govt. departments

b) Matters of appointment promotion and disciplinary, action of Government officials and

all adminstrative matters. It has no Jurisdiction over Magistrates and prosecutors.

2. The counseil d etat has revisional Jurisdiction over the lower tribunals in respect of errors of law, abuse of power mala fides, failure to observe the principles of natural justice etc. It may strike down the orders of the Govt- officials. In Barel's case (1954), Minister's order not to allow certain candidate to take the examination was quashed by the consel-d' etat.

iv) Assesment: To the French citizens the conseil d' Etat is a bulwark against the violation of their rights. It has provided security to the citizens.

v) Apeal : There is no appeal from the highest conseil to any court.

vi) Conclusion : The conseil d' etat is an unique institution: Its independence and jurisdiction account for its success. It protects the right of the citizens against abuse or excess of administrative powers etc.,


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