Dictionnaire Constitutionnel

Authors: Duhamel & Mény
Summary: This entry of about 4000 words focuses on the matter of juridical power. It is doctrinally a controversial one, which encompasses its nature of "power" or "authority" and its independence from the other two powers (legislative and executive). Nowadays the debate has lost its virulence, the independence of the magistrature being stated and guaranteed by constitution, even if the dispute on the juridical nature of justice still lasts. The author makes a long digression on the evolution of French juridical history from the revolution till 1958, thanks to which he isolates two principles: the independence of jurisdictions must be assured and the judicial authority guarantees individual freedom.
In France these principles are states as follows: the Head of state must guarantee the independence of the judicial authority (article 64 of the French Constitution) against every interference of the executive. With the article 66, the judicial power is entitled to assure the respect of individual freedom in all its aspects.
Finally, the author asserts that French justice does not represent a third power, but an authority, whose legitimacy derives more from the function the constituents gave to it (protection of individual freedom) than from its own nature.