The Conseil d’État advises the Government through five specialized departments: the department of Home Affairs, the Finance department, the department of Public Works, the Social department, and the Administrative department which was created in 2008. A rapporteur (advocate-reporter) is assigned to gather the relevant legal documentation and to study the relevant case. The officials and top civil servants from the ministries, also known as Government commissioners, provide the Conseil d’État with the necessary clarifications concerning the general scope of a text, the conditions of its elaboration and the reasons for the choices made by the ministries. The rapporteur then submits the case to the relevant department for discussion and the department votes on any eventual amendments.
In addition to these departments, the General Assembly convenes all the Conseillers d’État under the chairmanship of the Vice-President of the Conseil d’État, who participates in the elaboration of most Government bills and ordinances. Although the opinions of the Conseil d’État are not binding in theory, they are to a large extent followed by the Government in practice.
The department on Reports and Studies was recently added to the advisory departments responsible for reviewing drafts prepared by the Government. This department is in charge of preparing the annual report, coordinating research projects, keeping up to date with developments in European Community law and monitoring issues related to the enforcement of the Conseil d’État’s decisions. Attached to this department is the international relations delegation which coordinates the cooperative efforts of the Council of State, both bilateral and multilateral, with foreign jurisdictions or international associations, such as the International Association of Supreme Administrative Jurisdictions and the Association of the Councils of State and Supreme Administrative Jurisdictions of the European Union.