The principle of the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial power is the keystone of the proper functioning of our institutions. Under the laws of August 16 and 24, 1790, this principle rejects any interference by the judiciary in administrative affairs and therefore any intrusion by the State in judicial affairs.

The administrative courts will have sole competence to judge all disputes relating to the regulations and decisions of the administration. A constitutional statute henceforth fixed by the fundamental principles recognized by the laws of the republic (Constitutional Council July 22, 1980).

The administration must be understood in the broad sense, it is about public persons endowed with the prerogatives of public power in order to take regulatory or individual acts which will be imposed on the citizen.

As a citizen you can act against the State or a legal person of public law to contest a decision or an act taken by the administration; but also to raise the responsibility of the State, a public establishment, local authorities, a hospital… and obtain compensation if they have committed a fault.

* Before entering the judge, you must have made a administrative appeal. If the administration maintains its decision, then you can consider taking your challenge to the administrative court.

The supreme administrative court is the Council of state.

Administrative tribunals

These administrative jurisdictions are recent since they were created by a decree of 1953 (before this date, the Council of State was the only judge of all the administrative litigation with the help of the councils of prefecture which managed the cases of mass on the whole territory).

There are in all 42 Administrative Courts (31 in mainland France and 11 in Overseas Territories)

It is a common law jurisdiction. This means that it has jurisdiction to hear all disputes, unless texts provide for exceptions.

Thus, the Council of State will be the only competent first and last resort for: appointments of officials; disciplinary (decision of the CSM); The foreigners ; public finances ...

The administrative tribunal may also be referred to for an opinion and appoint commissions responsible for carrying out public inquiries.

The competent administrative court is that of the place:

Any wrongly seized court will have to seize the president of the “litigation” section of the Council of State who will have to refer the case to the competent court.

Namely: Beside the formation of judgment, sits a public protractor. Known until 2009 under the name "Government Commissioner". Yes… at first glance it is very ambiguous… It looks like a prosecutor, which is why his role sowed doubts in people's minds until the European Court forced France to review its statute. (see the note). Now everything is clear, he is responsible for analyzing the file, enlightening the court and the parties on the case submitted to them during the hearing and proposing a solution to the dispute in accordance with the texts and case law. The parties may, if they deem it necessary, express themselves immediately after their intervention and even send a note under advisement to express their observations. Its conclusions are optional in matters of timely driving license and refusal of stay accompanied by an obligation to leave the territory.

The court rules in principle with a formation of three judges (collegiate), but the texts provide that the president of the court can rule as a single judge (decision often rendered at first and last resort). The president may designate a judge of the tribunal to delegate this function to him.

The disputes entrusted to a single judge are:

Work that does not require a building permit; the communication of administrative documents, pensions, personalized housing assistance, union taxes, local taxes (not professional taxes), all compensation actions less than 10 euros, etc.

Important info :

  • Representation by a lawyer is sometimes compulsory (written procedure). While the state is not required to be represented by a lawyer. It is a person from the service who issued the disputed act who will defend his position before the judge.
  • Subject to resources, you may however benefit from Legal Aid.
  • In the event of abusive recourse, you incur a fine of 3 euros (maximum)
  • In the event of loss of the lawsuit, you may be forced to pay the costs of the proceedings to the opposing party (L 761-1 CJA)

The procedure

It begins with a written request to the Administrative Tribunal.

Two different procedures are to be considered depending on the dispute:

- The summary is an oral procedure, the judge takes notes and issues an interim order that you can only challenge before the Council of State.

- The litigation on the merits

Recourse in excess of power, full litigation recourse,

Contestation on the merits, written procedure, therefore a lawyer

A judgment will be rendered and subject to appeal before the Administrative Court of Appeal.

Administrative courts of appeal

Established by the law of December 31, 1987, they are a court of appeal for judgments rendered by administrative courts. There are 8 across the country.

Douai, Nantes, Paris, Versailles, Lyon, Bordeaux, Nancy and Marseille.

They are chaired by a Councilor of State.

Special administrative courts

These jurisdictions have special powers, they are:

  • The national court of asylum
  • Disciplinary training for professional orders
  • The higher education council
  • The National Council for Higher Education and Research (disciplinary matter)
  • The court of accounts and regional chambers of accounts
  • The budgetary and financial discipline court
  • The banking commission
  • Pensions courts
  • Appeals against decisions rendered by these exceptional courts take the form of an appeal on points of law before the Council of State.

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