French Constitutional Law and Its Influence Abroad

Course Description: 

French Constitutional Law is interesting because it differs in many ways from that of other countries (for example, it is neither a parliamentary nor a presidential system, the constitutionality of statutes is reviewed by an institution that is not part of the judiciary, a posteriori judicial review was only introduced in 2008) and because of its rich and original history (the present constitution is the 15th since 1791). The subjects covered by this course include: separation of powers, democracy and unity, judicial review and sources of constitutional law, the hierarchy of norms, relations between the French constitutional system and international/European law, laïcité and gender equality law as well as how the French model of constitutional law has circulated around the world and in particular to other European countries and the former French colonies.

Learning Outcomes: 
    • Ability to think critically at a basic level.
    • Ability to identify the essential characters of French constitutional culture.
    • Ability to read and analyze French (constitutional) case law.
    • Ability to perform research in French legal sources.
    • Ability to assess the migration of French legal institutions in other legal systems.

The final grade is based on class participation [10%], a mid-term written assignment [30%] and a written final in class exam [60%].