The state of emergency was implemented in France in November 2015 after the terrorists’ attacks in Paris and is still activated at this time. Two years after, it draws inevitably lawyers’ attention to the continuing restrictions to human rights and derogations to the separation of powers inherent to emergency laws. Based on the assumption that constitutional states cannot deal effectively with emergencies, special provisions on emergency powers are inserted in constitutions and legislations in many other democracies around the world. Those provisions are supposed to be both temporary and conservative, but those conditions are not always respected. We will discuss states of emergency in various European states such as France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Turkey, as well as the role of the European Court of Human Rights in controlling those emergency legislations. The comparison aims to classify those legislations using criteria such as the legal framework (legislative or constitutional) of the emergency powers, the constitutional safeguards for the protection of some fundamental rights and the role of constitutions in dealing with emergency laws especially when they last for a considerable amount of time.
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