The changing role of the Conseil d'Etat in the construction of social rights: 1950-2012
by Knut Fournier
International Journal of Human Rights and Constitutional Studies (IJHRCS), Vol. 1, No. 1, 2013

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.

Online publication date: Mon, 31-Mar-2014

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