The Justices of the Peace at the heart of the French Law Reform experimental process (1914–1915)

In: Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis / Revue d'Histoire du Droit / The Legal History Review

Abstract

The pre-enactment stages of the French Act of 22 December 1915 extending the cases where a review of judgements rendered by Justices of the Peace (at the canton-district level) could be brought before the Cour de Cassation shed a new light on the respective roles played by representatives of Parliament, of the central administration departments, and of the highest level of the Judiciary. These three categories of established public actors were brought together in an institutionalized Law Reform experimental process (laboratoire législatif), in which they shared a common legitimacy. An analysis of their work highlights the importance of their legal experience and knowledge for the conception and drafting of the Act, but is also necessary in order to interpret and understand those actors' notions with regard to the role of justice and the establishment of peace towards the citizens. The system and the rules which tend to ensure the Act's application emphasize the Executive Departments' capacity to affect the working of the courts, so as to implement their policies in favour of rationalizing the legal practitioners' work and modernizing the Judiciary at the beginning of the 20th century.

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