Conseil d'État (France)

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Seat of the court in the Palais Royal , Paris
Constitution of the Conseil d'État in the Parisian Palais du Petit-Luxembourg on December 25, 1799

The Conseil d'État (CE, German Council of State ) is a French institution based in the Palais Royal in Paris .


As a Council of State, the Conseil d'État is an institution with no direct equivalent in Germany , Austria or Switzerland . On the one hand, it is the supreme administrative court and, on the other, an advisory body to the government on legal issues. In the first function it is comparable with the German Federal Administrative Court , in the second with the German Federal Ministry of Justice , which examines the laws before they are presented to the cabinet.

In addition, in his landmark decision by Nicolo of October 20, 1989 , he declared himself responsible for checking the compatibility of French laws with international law . Usually this task is taken over by the respective constitutional courts of the states (also in Germany), which the Conseil constitutionnel had rejected several times. In France, there was therefore no legal recourse against laws that violated international law until the Nicolo decision .


The judgments of the CE are published in the Recueil “Lebon”, the AJDA (Actualité du Droit administratif français) or the RDP (Revue de Droit public). Particularly groundbreaking decisions appear in the GAJA (Grands arrêts de la Jurisprudence administrative); currently around 100. It is these decisions that shape all of French administrative law . The principles to be observed by the administration follow from them. French administrative law is, in a very pronounced way, primarily judge law . Its penetration without the judiciary is not possible. In addition to the CE, the Tribunal des Conflits is of great importance. It is occupied equally by judges from the Court of Cassation and the CE and decides which legal process is open if there are any doubts.


The Conseil d'État employs both judges and ordinary administrators . Officially, the Prime Minister is President of the Conseil d'État ; in fact, management is in the hands of the Vice-President of the Council of State. The most important of a total of six departments is the Section du contentieux , in which citizens' complaints against administrative actions are heard by the Conseil d'État as a court of appeal.

In terms of protocol, the Vice President is the highest official in the state (in Germany: the State Secretary in the Office of the Federal President ). Vice-President has been Jean-Marc Sauvé, a former ENA student and successor to Renaud Denoix de Saint Marc, who had reached the age limit, since October 2006.


The Conseil d'État goes back to Napoleon . It was founded by the First Consul and later Emperor on December 13, 1799, immediately after the coup d'état of the 18th Brumaire .

It is tradition that the best graduates of the ENA administration college apply there or at the Cour des comptes , the highest French audit office .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Conseil d'État: October 20, 1989 - Nicolo , official website of the Conseil d'État , article October 20, 2017, accessed on May 15, 2017.

Coordinates: 48 ° 51 ′ 48 ″  N , 2 ° 20 ′ 13 ″  E