Judicial Independence in France
Though the independence of the French judiciary has been discussed for decades, the concerns raised by this topic have changed tremendously over the years. For a long time, as a result of the so-called French concept of separation of powers,1 the debate revolved round the independence of the judiciary vis-a-vis the legislative and the executive branches: while the government and Parliament were deemed legitimate powers, the judiciary, on the other hand, was not elected and thus was not initially recognized as a power per se, but as a mere authority, the role of which was strictly limited to applying the law. Furthermore, in order to shield the legislative and the executive from any intrusion by the judiciary, courts were prohibited from adjudicating on Acts, Bills and any other documents issued by the government or Parliament.2 A parallel court system was thus created to resolve disputes arising out of administrative acts. This system, which has the Conseil d’Etat at its head, will not be discussed in this chapter as it is conceived as an autonomous system of adjudication with a different recruitment and career system for its judges, different types of relations between the different court levels, a separate budget, etc.
KeywordsCivil Procedure Appellate Court Judicial Independence Constitutional Reform Judicial Power
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