HOME Legal Encounters The New Developments of Constitutional Review in France and Palestine

The New Developments of Constitutional Review in France and Palestine

The Institute of Law at Birzeit University held a legal encounter on “The New Development of Constitutional Review in France and Palestine” on 27 April 2011.

Speakers in the meeting included Dr. Ali Khashan, Minister of Justice and Mr. Pierre Jox, Former Minister of Interior and Former Member of Constitutional Court in France. In addition to Professor Eric Millard, Professor of Legal Theory and Public Law, at  Paris Ouest - Nanterre La Défense.

The Palestinain Minister of Justice, Dr. Ali Khashan explained the importance of this meeting in the current Palestinian and Arab context and the constitutional changes expected to take place in Palestine and other Arab countries and their potential impact on our constitutional regime. Dr. Ali Khashan briefed the audience on the previous efforts made to elaborate a draft Palestinian constitution and explained the importance of this constitution in the state building process and to put an end to the division in addition to safeguarding freedoms and rights. He explained its importance in the separation of powers and the necessity to have stable constitutional practices. For this purpose a constitutional task force has been activated to be supported by subcommittees to discuss the draft. In addition he elaborated on the steps to establish a constitutional court and mentioned that this court will mostly be based on the South African, French and German experiences.

Following the Minister’s presentation, Mr. Pierre Jox explained the historical approach between the French revolution and the current Arab revolutions and in some of the European countries following the fall of the Wall of Berlin. He explained the long constitutional experience in France, tackling the most important constitutional changes since the beginning of 1940s to date, considering their relation to the current Palestinian context. He explained that most of these changes were introduced to achieve maximum protection for the state and its institutions while safeguarding rights of individuals. He raised a number of controversial constitutional issues and their relation to the change in the constitutional system across the years. As for Dr. Eric Millard, he addressed the constitutional changes in France explaining that constitutional reforms in France, the most recent being in 2008, still did not fill in the gap between practice and text, especially that the former French constitutional council reviewed the constitutionality of laws only prior to their promulgation. Therefore, we do not witness in France issues similar to those raised before constitutional courts in Great Britain, Spain or the USA. Presentations were followed by a detailed discussion of this topic and calls to have a Palestinian constitution that reiterates the importance of the constitution in democratic states and a constitutional court on sound bases, taking into account appropriate procedures in recruitment and dismissal of judges so that they can perform their work in total independence vis-à-vis the political powers in government.