Roger Errera


“Law is not an end in itself, but rather it is an expression of values to order social relations within a free and fair society.”

Roger Errera, conseiller d’Etat, was an “enlightened judge” and a “committed lawyer”. This was the description given by M. Jean-Marc Sauvé, Vice-President of the Conseil d’Etat, at the opening of a colloquium in honour of Roger Errera, at the Conseil d’Etat, Paris, on 30 November 2015. Whilst continuing to perform his duties as a member of the Litigation Section and the Home Affairs Section of the Conseil d’Etat, Roger Errera was engaged in a wide range of activities both in France and abroad.

From 1960 he regularly published works in the fields of public law, freedoms and liberties, modern history and current events. Roger Errera is the author of two works: Les libertés à l’abandon (Editions du Seuil, [1968] 1975) and Et ce sera justice… Le juge dans la cité (Gallimard, 2013). He has contributed to several edited works in the legal field, in both French and English, as well as presenting at symposiums and conferences. He has also written several reports and has been consulted numerous times by institutions and organisations in France and internationally.

In 1970 he founded the Diaspora collection at the Calmann-Lévy publishing house in Paris. He then continued as the managing editor of this collection until 2014. In 2006, he said that he conceived of this collection as, “…a collection of high quality essays covering all aspects of Judaism and the Jewish existence including: religion, history, philosophy, politics, literature and culture.”

In his non-professional life Roger Errera was involved from the early seventies with writers and artists who were being persecuted by the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. From 1990 he was consulted, both as a jurist and as an expert, on the establishment of legal and judicial institutions in Central and Eastern Europe. The European authorities and other international institutions and organisations also consulted him, both on a professional basis as a conseiller d’Etat and on a personal basis.

Roger Errera focussed his research and activities on the following areas: liberal thought; the philosophy and politics of Hannah Arendt; totalitarianism (Soviet and Nazi); racism; antisemitism; the antisemitic policy of the Nazis in Europe and the Vichy Regime in France; the concept of the rule of law (Etat de droit); the jurisdictional control of the administration and of parliament; the law of civil liberties in general and their “constitutionnalisation” and “internationalisation”; the international protection of human rights; the guarantee of freedoms in particular freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and opinion, religious freedom, and laïcité [state secularism]; the right of the press and the protection of the right to privacy; French administrative law and comparative law; European Community law and international law; law on foreign nationals, international migration law and the development of refugee law; minorities; the connection between law, history and memory.

“Law is not an end in itself, but rather it is an expression of values to order social relations within a free and fair society. Jurists should not forget this when they are considering the meaning of their actions (which is something they must do).”

“I see an opportunity in this to reflect on the nature of the relations that jurists can have with society and the establishment when they decide to make their knowledge and talent available to them.”

(Quotes from the speech given by Roger Errera at the award to a non-Czech national of the Antonín Randa silver medal by the Union of Czech lawyers, Prague 2004.)

Contact :

Photography: © Mariana Cook (2011)
Design and production: Alain Choukroun,
Code : Nathan Choukroun
© 2021