An application for a priority preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality (Question prioritaire de constitutionnalité, QPC) is the right of any person who is involved in legal proceedings before a court to argue that a statutory provision infringes rights and freedoms guaranteed by the French Constitution.

Three conditions must be met for an application to be ultimately referred by the Conseil d'Etat or the Cour de cassation to the French Constitutional Council (Conseil Constitutionnel):

  • The challenged statutory provision must apply to the litigation or proceedings involved or be the basis of such proceedings.
  • The challenged statutory provision must have not been previously found to be compliant to the French Constitution by the Conseil Constitutionnel.
  • The issue raised must be a new one or of a serious nature. 

The Conseil Constitutionnel must give its ruling within three months and, if need be, repeal the challenged statutory provision, after referral made by the French Supreme Courts, which have ensured that the abovementioned conditions of admissibility have been complied with.

The Conseil d'Etat recently referred to the Conseil constitutionnel three interesting QPC in the field of taxation. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.