This article analyses the way of the French Constitutional Council, starting with its famous Association decision in 1971, transformed a brief reference to historical declarations of rights in the thin Preamble of the current French constitution (adopted in 1958) into a wide-ranging judge-made catalogue of fundamental rights. This, combined with two important reforms of the procedure for submissions of statutes to the Constitutional Council for review (in 1974 and 2008), are gradually establishing the Constitutional Council as an important actor in the legislative process and a central body for the protection of human rights in France. The article also briefly explores the scope and limits of this protection. It then discusses recent proposals for amending the Preamble. It analyses the only amendment so far, namely the inclusion of a reference to the Charter for the Environment, which aimed at providing a constitutional basis for the protection of environment, as well as other controversial suggestions, such as those aiming at enabling positive discrimination measures towards minorities, the guarantee of media pluralism, the protection of privacy and personal data and the respect of human dignity. It concludes on the use and misuses of comparative law for constitutional reforms.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.