Title: The changing role of the Conseil d'Etat in the construction of social rights: 1950-2012

Authors: Knut Fournier

Addresses: Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense, 200 Avenue de la République, 92000 Nanterre, France

Abstract: The Conseil d'Etat (Council of State), until recently the highest public law court of France, has a long history of dealing with social rights. However, as a court of public law, it was given limited opportunities to develop social rights for citizens, being in charge of actions against the state. The two decisions hereinafter exemplify the evolution of the way the Conseil addressed social rights in its case law. While in the post World War II setting, fundamental rights issues touch to politically oriented labour questions, more recent decisions illustrate the growing complexity of the human rights debate in courts. Out of two points in time, the major shift in the Conseil's role is revealed: from a role of confirmation and explanation of constitutional rights found in fundamental texts, the Conseil finds itself in the position of supplementing the legislator and the executive's failure. Potentially, while the Conseil d'Etat loses its status as the highest public law court in the land, could redefine the Conseil's role in the legal and institutional landscape.

Keywords: opposable right; homeless; state responsibility; right to dignity; right to family life; right to strike; collective action; public sector workers; equality; judicial construction; Conseil d'Etat; Council of State; government failure; constitutional law; human rights; right to housing; France; social rights.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRCS.2013.052766

International Journal of Human Rights and Constitutional Studies, 2013 Vol.1 No.1, pp.81 - 84

Published online: 15 Mar 2013 *

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