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The Constitution of France

A Contextual Analysis

By: Sophie Boyron
Media of The Constitution of France
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Published: 21-12-2012
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 290
ISBN: 9781841137353
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Constitutional Systems of the World
Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
RRP: £22.99
Online price : £20.69
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Loren Epson

About The Constitution of France

The centrepiece of this work is the French Constitution of 1958, portrayed by the author as an innovative hybrid construct whose arrival brought the constitutional stability that had eluded France for centuries. But the creation of the 1958 Constitution was not an isolated act; it represents part of an evolutionary process which continues to this day. Even though it is codified, the constitution of the Fifth Republic has evolved so markedly that some commentators have dubbed the present institutional balance the 'Sixth Republic'. It is this dynamic of the constitution which this book seeks to explain. At the same time the book shows how the French constitution has not developed in isolation, but reflects to some extent the global movement of ideas, ideas which sometimes challenge the very foundations of the 1958 Constitution.

Table Of Contents

1 French Constitutional History: A Difficult Coming of Age
The Constitutional 'Big-Bang': The Revolution of 1789
The Difficult Implementation of Constitutionalism
Understanding French Constitutional History
Conclusion: The Merger of Constitutional Traditions?
2 In Search of the Constitutional Fundamentals
The Legitimacy of the 1958 Constitution
The Integrity of the 1958 Constitution
The Efficiency of the 1958 Constitution: The Political System
Conclusion: Something Old, Something New
3 The Primacy of the Executive
The Origins – The Search for a Strong Executive
The President of the Republic: From Strength to Strength
A Contested Bicephalous Executive
The Difficult Accountability of the Executive
4 Towards a Renewal of the Parliament
A Return to Institutional Autonomy?
The Constitutional Status of Members of Parliament
Parliament's Work: A Great Improvement
Conclusion: Further Reform?
5 The Rise of Judicial Power
The Search for Judicial Independence
The Rise of the Conseil constitutionnel
Towards a Judicial Power?
6 The Constitution and its People
The French People and the Constitution
The Sovereign Expression of the French People
A Culture of Rights Protection
Conclusion: A 'New' Citizen?
7 From Centralised Unity to Multilevel Constitutionalism
The Rise of Territorial Government
Keeping a Check on the European Union
8 The Dynamics of Constitutional Change
The Amendment Procedure: A Question of Choice?
The Dynamics of Constitutional Change
The Trends for Constitutional Reform


“The book is a comprehensive, well-researched and well-presented piece of work…What I particularly like about this contribution, apart from its rich content, is the clear narrative style. The tone is also correctly pitched: while portraying an overall positive view of French constitutionalism, the author also draws the reader's attention to critics who call for further reforms and encourage further research in the field…the book is a timely contribution not only to the Hart Series, but also indeed to the scholarly literature on French Constitutional Law and comparative constitutionalism. Although it requires a basic grounding in French constitutional law and history, and cognate fields, such as European law, I would recommend it to students and academics interested in the French legal system and in comparative constitutional law and politics.” –  Marie-Luce Paris, Irish Jurist, (1)

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