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       Managing, Resolving, and Avoiding Cross-Border Business or Regulatory Disputes
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D. New Procedure in France to Bring Constitutional Challenges

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  1. On July 28, 2008, France introduced a new law that significantly modernizes the framework for challenging the constitutionality of national legislation. The new system bears a much greater resemblance to the one in place in the United States.
  2. Under the previous regime, laws were required to be vetted by the Constitutional Council prior to their enactment. However, once enacted, laws were immune from further constitutional review. Pursuant to the new reform, where the enforcement or implementation of a law results in a violation of the rights and liberties protected by the constitution, the State Council or the Supreme Court may submit such law to the Constitutional Council for review. Upon a decision by the Council that a law is unconstitutional, such law will be repealed as of the date of the decision.
  3. As this is the first time such recourse has been available in France, it is still too early to predict what consequences it will have. The reform may result in the invalidation of laws that contain overly broad provisions, such as laws dealing with environmental protection or laws allowing judges excessive discretion in their decision-making.

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