The French Legal System
The French judicial system has developed through many stages during the nation’s history, and is deeply rooted in three major influences of the King, the people, and the outside. The first judicial system, a Private Reaction system, was established at the founding of France. A judicial system was then established after the Revolution of 1789. The judicial system after the Revolution was based on the principle of legal offenses and punishment. This was stimulated by English law and was the Imperial Penal Law Stage. In 1804 Napolean wrote the Civil Code to prevent the total ruling of outside forces or a King. Two other written codes that were established during this stage were the Code of Criminal Instruction of 1808 and the Penal Code of 1810. These codes allowed all French laws to be easily accessible to the public and mostly codified with a written legislative body. Since the 1789 Revolution, many reforms and changes have gone into fully developing the current French judicial system. The Fifth Republic was established with the 1958 constitution. This constitution was then revised in 1962 and provided France with a powerful president, along with a less powerful bicameral legislative branch. The first president to be elected for a 5 year term into the Fifth Republic by direct popular vote was Charles De Gaulle and is currently Nicolas Sarkozy. The bicameral legislative branch consists of a 331 member Senate, and a 577 National assembly. The Senate is indirect elections by the Electoral College every 3 years; electing a new 1/3 of the Senate allowing all elected officials to hold office for 9 years. The National Assembly is directly elected and may be dissolved by the current president every 5 years. Throughout the constitutional judicial system, there are four leading political parties: Socialists, Rassemblement pour la Republique (RPR), Union pour la Democratie Francaise (UDF), and the French Communist party. The Fifth...
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