The word decree is often used as a derogative term for any authoritarian decision. See also rule by decree.
The word decree (décret) is used as a technical term to describe the executive decisions from the President or Prime Minister of France; they may be compared to US executive orders. Those decisions must conform to the Constitution and statutes of France, and it is possible to sue for their cancellation in the Conseil d'État (litigation section).
Decrees are of the two following kinds:
- simple decrees (décrets simples);
- decrees in the Council of State (décrets en Conseil d'État), when a statute mandates the advisory consultation of the Conseil d'État.
They may be classified into:
- regulations, which may be:
- application decrees (décrets d'application), each of which must be specifically authorized by one or more statutes to determine some implementation conditions of this or these statutes;
- autonomous regulations (règlement autonome), which may only be taken in areas where the Constitution of France does not warrant statute law (passed by the legislative branch);
- particular measures, such as the nomination of high-level civil servants.