Constitutional Courts in a Changing Landscape
Edited by John Bell and Marie-Luce Paris
Chapter 8: France
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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