Rights-Based Constitutional Review
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Rights-Based Constitutional Review

Constitutional Courts in a Changing Landscape

Edited by John Bell and Marie-Luce Paris

Constitutional review has become an essential feature of modern liberal democratic constitutionalism. In particular, constitutional review in the context of rights litigation has proved to be most challenging for the courts. By offering in-depth analyses on changes affecting constitutional design and constitutional adjudication, while also engaging with general theories of comparative constitutionalism, this book seeks to provide a heightened understanding of the constitutional and political responses to the issue of adaptability and endurance of rights-based constitutional review. Providing structured analyses the editors combine studies of common law and civil law jurisdictions, centralized and decentralized systems of constitutional review, and large and small jurisdictions.
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Chapter 8: France

Marie-Luce Paris


In Chapter 8 on France (‘The French system of rights-based review: from exceptionalism to parochial constitutionalism’), Paris provides a detailed and critical analysis of the French system of review, recently transformed by the addition of ex post review to the competence of the Constitutional Council under the Priority Preliminary Ruling on the Issue of Constitutionality. The argument is made that this reform has brought rights-based constitutional review towards more completeness in line with the dominant model of constitutionalism. However, a focus on domestic concerns as regards the design and operation of ex post review does not dispel the exceptionalist trait of the French system. The further transformation of the Constitutional Council into a fully-fledged constitutional court and the development of an appeased and meaningful relationship with other constitutional actors have indeed occurred within the very specific parameters of the French context. Relevant comparisons with other constitutional systems of the Kelsenian type, notably the Belgian one, as well as reference to the wider theoretical debate on constitutionalism, about a weak form of review in particular, assist in understanding the far-reaching effects of the enhanced form of review and to what extent French constitutionalism is still marked by parochial consideration.

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