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What is Droit Administration? Principles, Conseil d'État and Drawbacks

What is Droit Administration?

Droit Administration is a unique characteristic of the administrative setup of France.

According to British Jurist Albert Venn Dicey (4th Feb 1835 - 7th April 1922), the Droit Administrative system is based on the following of two ordinary principles, namely:

  1. The government and its every servant possesses special rights, privileges and prerogative as against private citizens.
  2. Such rights and privileges, etc., are determined on the principles different from the consideration that fixes the legal rights and duties of the citizens.

Legendary French military leader Napoléon Bonaparte (15th August 1769 - 5th May 1821) was the founder of Droit Administration. He for the first time established ‘Conseil d'État’ which means the Council of State.

Principles of Droit Administration

Eminent French scholar Jean Waline propounded following three principles of Droit Administration:

  1. Principle 1: The power of administration to act ‘Suo Motu’ (on its own) to impose directly on subjects its decision to be obeyed as a duty.
  2. Principle 2: The power of the administration to take decisions and execute them ‘Suo Motu’ (on its own) and may be exercised only within the orbit of the law that protects individual liabilities against administrative arbitrariness.
  3. Principle 3: The existence of a specialized administrative jurisdiction.

In connection with the Principle No.3, Jean Waline said,

“One speaks of Administrative Jurisdiction because these decisions relate to superior control of the Conseil d'État either through appeal or by the recourse on its cessation.”

Conseil d'État

The main advantage of Conseil d'État is that being an independent body. It reviews every administrative action. This council of the state comprises of eminent civil servants.

This council deals with a variety of matters like:

  1. Income Tax,
  2. Claims for damages for wrongful acts of Government servants.
  3. Personal claims of Civil Servants against:
    1. Wrongful dismissal or
    2. Suspension.
  4. Disputed elections, etc.

The Conseil d'État can interfere in administrative order if there is:

  1. Lack of jurisdiction.
  2. The error of law.
  3. Misapplication of power
  4. The irregularity of procedure.

Drawbacks of Droit Administration

The limitations or drawbacks of Droit Administration:

  1. British Jurist A. V. Dicey once expressed his views that there is no Rule of Law in France due to the Droit Administration. He thought that the Droit Administration is in contrary or opposition to the Rule of Law. But it appeared he was mistaken.
  2. Although it is true that an individual in France while dealing with the state on any issue does not stand on the same footing as that on which he stands in dealing with his neighbor, moreover, the Government and his officials are independent and free from the jurisdiction of ordinary courts.
  3. Despite these drawbacks, the Droit Administration has been quite successful in subjective Rule of law, in France.

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