Droit Administratif and Administrative Law

Droit Administratif refers to the body of administrative law in France that governs the organization and functioning of public administration. It also regulates the relations between the administration and citizens. Droit Administratif differs from administrative law in common law countries in its conception and evolution.

Evolution of Droit Administratif

Droit Administratif originated from the theory of separation of powers adopted during the French revolution. It led to a separation between courts and administrative bodies in France. The traditional Bonapartists supported executive dominance even in judicial matters concerning administration while reformist parliaments argued for jurisdiction of ordinary courts.

The 1790 Law on separation of powers curtailed the executive’s power. Napoleon established the Conseil d’Etat in 1799 primarily to provide relief against administrative excesses. Over time, the Conseil d’Etat acquired judicial powers for adjudicating administrative disputes. The Blanco Judgement in 1873 firmly established the jurisdiction of administrative courts over administrative liability matters.

Key Features of Droit Administratif

The key rules under Droit Administratif relate to:

  1. Administrative authorities and officials concerning status, salary, appointments etc.
  2. Functioning of public services to serve citizen needs under state supervision.
  3. Dispute settlement mechanism before administrative courts like the Conseil d’Etat.

The system of administrative courts evolved to prevent perceived judicial encroachment over the executive domain. Jurisdictional conflicts between administrative and ordinary courts are resolved by the Tribunal des Conflits.

Administrative Law in India

Indian administrative law regulates the executive, public bodies and administrative agencies. It ensures accountability for the exercise of public power. With constitutionalism and judicial review, administrative discretion gets checked against procedural propriety. Principles of natural justice guide administrative process and decisions. Enactments like the Administrative Tribunals Act regulate administrative adjudication. Laws and judicial decisions subject administrative actions to judicial review through constitutional writs. Administrative and ordinary courts possess concurrent jurisdiction. However, higher courts can transfer cases between them to balance administrative autonomy and justice dispensation.


Droit Administratif and Indian administrative law share common aspects like executive regulation and administrative dispute resolution. However, Indian administrative law operates in a common law framework with greater integration between courts. Constitutional safeguards and judicial review also circumscribe administrative discretion more widely in comparison.

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