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Conference organized at la Maison du Barreau (Paris) on March 16, 2007 by the Association of the Councils of State and the supreme administrative Jurisdictions of the EU, the French Conseil d'Etat, the Mission of research "Law and Justice", and the Faculty of Law of Limoges, the University Paris-1 - Pantheon-Sorbonne, with the support of TAIEX, European Commission.

T he existence of an autonomous administrative justice, far from being a French exception, is the most spread pattern in Europe.

The majority of European States, i.e. 15 on 27, has a supreme administrative court distinct from one or many other supreme jurisdictions. Thus, contrary to an idea widespread in France, the main rule in Europe is not a unique supreme court. The diversity of national traditions shows four main patterns: the administrative supreme court exclusively dedicated to jurisdictional functions, as in Germany; the specialized administrative jurisdiction which also carries out consultative functions, as the French “Conseil d’Etat”; the unique supreme court with an administrative chamber like in Spain; and finally the unique and undivided jurisdiction in which the same magistrates judge both administration and individuals, like in the UK.

In those times of harmonization of administrative trial’s leading principles in the hearth of European law, the confrontation of different systems shows both particularisms and convergences. Everywhere, jurisdictional control of administration’s acts appears as a fundamental condition for the existence of Rule of Law. More than ever, the administrative judge, put in the middle of the relation between public power and citizens, is the guardian of fundamental rights.

This European symposium is the result of several years of research. It gathers participants from 27 countries across the European Union. This meeting will show a panorama of administrative justice in Europe and lead reflection to other perspectives. Thus, behind the issue of jurisdictional organization, we might see the start of a forthcoming European administrative law.