This imposing quarto volume is offered to the public as a permanent memorial of the 150th anniversary of the Conseil d'Etat. It is a remarkable book, not unworthy of the very remarkable institution which it seeks to portray.
Although the Conseil, as the Conseil du Roi, goes back a very long way in French history, it suffered an interruption at the French Revolution. The interruption proved indeed to be a minor one, lasting nine years only. Nevertheless, the Conseil was in some sense reformed by Napoleon under the Constitution du 22 Frimaire; and as the Conseil d'Etat it met for the first time on Christmas Day 1799 (a day then disguised as 4 Nivose An VIII) under conditions of no small informality. It is its first meeting under Napoleon which has been selected as the new terminus a quo of an institution in reality a great deal older.
The book consists of some 50 articles (of very unequal length, one of them being an extensive monograph) and is divided into two parts. The second, shorter, part (though of over 200 pages) consists of contributions by persons who are not French and is concerned mainly with the influence of the Conseil d'Etat outside France, though it also includes articles on administrative questions in the United Kingdom (by Prof. W. A. Robson) in the United States, and in Canada (by the Chief Justice of Canada). It is proposed in this review wholly to neglect this part, however great its interest, principally because the English reader will find greater profit in the account given of the functioning in France of the authentic, the French, Conseil d'Etat: which may fairly be called the creator of the only system of administrative law properly meriting that title.