FAQ – CONSEIL D’ETAT

As the Conseil d’Etat is the supreme judicial body in the French administration, proceedings are brought before it when disputes arise concerning administrative acts – whether they concern central administrations, local authorities or State entities.

It acts as a supreme court of appeal to rule on appeals made against the rulings of administrative courts of appeal or against certain decisions made in the first and last instance by administrative courts.

It also acts as an appeal judge in matters concerning municipal and departmental elections.

Lastly, it is a judge of first and last instance for procedures against decrees, regulatory acts of ministers and disputes concerning regional or European elections.

A summary appeal is the act of referral of a case to an administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat , an administrative court of appeal, administrative tribunal, etc.

It must be filed within the appeal period, often two months.

In concrete terms, it is a document indicating very briefly the legal grounds which justify the annulment of the act or the decision challenged.

All the grounds do not have to be included in the summary appeal because they are developed and completed subsequently in a brief which must be filed within three months.

On filing of an additional brief, the case is assigned to a chamber of the litigation division of the Conseil d’Etat which studies it.

At this stage of the procedure, neither the summary appeal nor the additional brief is communicated to the defendant.

The chamber to which the case has been assigned may then decide not to allow the appeal, either because it is inadmissible or because no serious grounds have been presented.

Otherwise, the chamber makes a decision to allow the appeal.

The admission of the appeal opens the adversarial part of the proceedings: the appeal and the additional brief are communicated to the defendant, which can file a defence brief which will be passed on to the applicant.

Then a reporting judge is designated and a hearing date is set.

During the hearing, the reporting judge presents his conclusions.

The parties’ Avocats aux Conseils (Counsels at Senior Court) may speak; in most cases, they refer to the observations developed in their pleading, because in administrative cases the proceedings are in writing.

Then the case is adjourned for deliberation and the decision is made a few weeks after the hearing.

Thouin-Palat et Boucard attends each of the hearings concerning the cases which it handles and systematically addresses the minutes of the hearing to its clients and barrister contacts.