Parliamentary Control over Emergency Powers in France

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Author: Maxim Sorokin

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2017-4-92-108

Keywords: administrative justice; article 16 of the French Constitution; constitutional control; human rights; parliamentary control; state of emergency; the standing parliamentary committee


From 14th November 2015 to the present time, a state of emergency (état d’urgence) has been declared over the all territory of the French Republic to address an immediate terrorist threat. For this reason, there was an urgent need to provide for an adequate parliamentary control to reconcile the effective counter-terrorist measures within extended executive powers with protection of human rights. Thus, the article first deals with the constitutionality of the restrictive measures put in place by the state of emergency which were made by the parliamentary statute while it is not mentioned by the French Constitution of 1958. At the same time the state of emergency is distinguished from other forms of so called “crisis situations” – measures taken by President according to the Article 16 of the French Constitution and the stage of siege. The impossibility of launching measures under these two regimes in the current situation in France is also explained. Then the new forms of parliamentary control over emergency are examined. Firstly, the 2015 law on prolongation of emergency obliged the government to inform the each house of Parliament of all measured taken under the emergency powers and to give them additional information if required. Secondly, the standing parliamentary committees of Law in both houses were exceptionally vested with the powers of enquiry committee. As a result, it allows for the members of Parliaments to perform extended and ongoing review of executive action during emergency. Thus, in spite of some constrains, such parliamentary control over emergency was and is important check to protect a democratic society and rule of law in France.

About the author: Maxim Sorokin – Ph.D. student (full-time Advanced Doctoral Programme), Faculty of Law, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Sorokin M. (2017). Chrezvychainoe polozhenie i parlamentskiy kontrol’ za ego primeneniem vo Franchii [Parliamentary Control over Emergency Powers in France]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.4, pp.92–108. (In Russian).


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