French law – The crisis of the legal theory of the public institution

Title 4 – The Public Institution

Chapter 1 – The classic public establishment

Chapter 2 – The crisis of the legal theory of the public establishment

Section 1 – The onset of the legal crisis of the public establishment

While the public establishment was the only legal person under public law with the territorial legal persons, this exclusivity has fallen.

The public establishment thus found itself competing with:

  • the professional organization committees, which have since been considered as private bodies (CE, 7 Dec. 1984)
  • nationalized company
  • groups of local authorities

Section 2 – Consequences of the legal crisis of the public establishment

The public establishment does not necessarily manage a public establishment.

Case law interprets the principle of a specialty in a very flexible manner. The Conseil d’Etat, in its opinion of July 7, 1994, Diversification des activities d’EDF-GDF, admitted that these companies could engage in ancillary activities.

The public establishment is no longer the only legal entity in association with the local authorities.

The difference between a public establishment, a legal person under public law, and a legal person under private law is ambiguous. Thus, some public establishments are also governed by private law, such as EPICs.

Finally, there is an ambiguity between the EPA (administrative) and the EPIC (industrial and commercial). Thus, there are mixed establishments, which carry out both administrative and industrial and commercial public service missions.

Finally, new public entities have been recognized:

  • the Banque de France
  • public interest groups (GIP)
  • Independent administrative authorities (AAI) with legal personality

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