Sources of the Constitution

John Bell

in French Constitutional Law

Published in print January 1995 | ISBN: 9780198259480
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681967 | DOI:
Sources of the Constitution

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This chapter introduces the various sources of the Constitution and how they relate to each other. It is specifically about the ‘formal sources’ (to use the French term) of the Constitution, in the sense of the authoritative standards by reference to which constitutional norms are identified. Necessarily, this also leads to a discussion of the ‘material sources’ of the Constitution, namely, the particular texts from which constitutional norms are quarried. It is not directly concerned with the sources for the political legitimacy of these constitutional norms — why they have come to be treated as authoritative — but such issues will arise tangentially from time to time. The 1958 Constitution is fairly full and complete in its provisions establishing the organs of government and their powers. Remaining rules are found in organic laws and parliamentary standing orders. Moreover, the decisions of the Conseil constitutionnel will provide a concrete source to which most French lawyers will turn. They do not constitute a formal source of the Constitution in the way that some English court decisions do.

Keywords: 1958 Constitution; constitutional norms; material sources; Conseil constitutionnel; French lawyers

Chapter.  9937 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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