Roger Errera was born in Paris on 3 December 1933. He was a French citizen. His parents were originally Thessaloniki Jews [>video]. As a young journalist his father, Paul Errera (1895-1997), was critical of Greek government policy and in 1916, had to leave Thessalonika and he emigrated to France. En 1929 Roger Errera’s mother, Bella Montekio (1911-2005), followed her two brothers (already in France since 1917 and 1923 respectively) and emigrated to France with her parents. In 1938 Paul Errera and his brother-in-law, Léon Montekio, set up a hosiery company, Ermont, in Paris. He then applied for French nationality, along with his wife, but they were refused. They were eventually granted it in 1948.

In 1940, the Errera and Montekio families settled in Brive-la-Gaillarde (south-west France). Under the antisemitic policy of the Vichy regime a dispossession order was imposed on the Ermont business and it was put into judicial administration. In March 1943, the two families took refuge in Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat (Alpes-Maritimes), which at that time was under Italian occupation. When Italy surrendered in September 1943, the families hurried back to Brive. In 1944, some of the family hid in the countryside surrounding Brive. They entrusted a childless couple, M. and Mme Champ, in Tulle, with Roger and his sister, Monique (born in 1938). M. Champ, an official in the Préfecture, and his wife cared for Roger and his sister for six months.

On their return to Paris at the end of 1945 the Errera family moved back into their flat which had been completely looted during the Occupation. Roger continued his education at the Jacques Decour lycée in the ninth arrondissement. He excelled at school, coming second in the history prize of the Concours Général in 1951. He then studied Law at SciencesPo [Institut d’études politiques de Paris]. He was admitted to ENA [Ecole Nationale d’Administration] in 1955 and from 1955 to 1957 he served his military service in the Air Force in Cyprus. In 1956 he was sent to Alexandria during the Franco-British military campaign in Egypt. On graduating from ENA he was appointed to the Conseil d’Etat where he started as an auditeur in 1959.

Career as a lawyer in administrative law in France

Rapporteur with the Central Enquiry Committee on the Costs and Benefits of Public Services (Comité central d’enquête sur le coût et le rendement des services publics) (1961-62).

Rapporteur at the Commission des Ententes (1962).

Rapporteur with the Commissariat Général du Plan (French Planning Commission) (1964).

President of the Working Group responsible for the decentralisation of public services and the adjustment of monopoly at the Moinot Commission (Commission de réflexion et d’orientation sur l’audiovisuel) (1981).

Member of the Review Commission responsible for drafting the reform of the status of the judiciary (1982-83).

President of the Commission Presse-Justice set up by the Ministry of Justice (1984-85).

Research, teaching and training activities in France 

Participation in national bodies: Member of the National Committee for Scientific Research at the CNRS (The French National Centre for Scientific Research) – Political Science Section (1982-86). Member of the Comité national d’évaluation des universités (National Committee for the Evaluation of Universities) (1988-91).

Positions held at the French ‘Grandes Ecoles’: Member of the Education Commission at the Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature (1982-86). Member of the Development Council for the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Police in Saint-Cyr-au-Mont-d’Or (1983-87). Chairman of the Board, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Police (1988-91). Member of the Board of the Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature (1988-96).

Teaching: Maître de conférences at ENA (1963-67). Chargé d’enseignement at the Faculty of Law, Université de Reims (1971-72). Maître de conférences at SciencesPo Grenoble (1971-72). Maître de conférences at SciencesPo Paris (1974-81).

Vocational training: Session Director at the Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature on ‘Foreign nationals in France’ (from 1991).

Other positions held in France

Technical Advisor to Alain Poher, acting President of the French Republic from April to June 1969.

Member of the Consultative Commission on Human Rights (1982-86).

Member of the Franco-British Judicial Cooperation Committee at its inauguration in 1994 (which became the Franco-British-Irish Judicial Cooperation Committee in 2007). President of the French section from 1996 to 2000.

Member of the Committee of Experts appointed by the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) to evaluate the CDC’s historical research into its role in the despoilment of Jewish assets under the Vichy regime and the reparations paid, from 1994 (1995-2001).

Member of the Higher Council of the Judiciary (1998-2002).

Positions held outside France

UN: Member of The Human Rights Committee, created in 1966 by the first International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the second Covenant in 1976 was ratified by France in 1981 (1982-86).

OECD: As a consultant on the SIGMA and PUMA programmes, he participated in several conferences and seminars; a seminar on the new Public Management theory; a conference on trust in public service and a report on the legal instruments in trust in public service (1997); a study on “The interaction of the Public Administration and citizens: general context, principles and rules”; and a report on trust in the public services (2000). He participated with other experts in a seminar organised in Moscow by the OECD and the legal departments of the Office of the President of the Russian Federation on administrative law, administrative procedure and the legal control of the administration (2000).

BIRD: Participation in two international conferences, one in St Petersburg on judicial reforms in transition countries, and one in Washington on the efficiency of justice (2001).

Teaching, research and vocational training

United States: Lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, University of Princeton (1967-68). Fellow of the German Marshall Fund at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University (1975-76).

United Kingdom: Visiting professor of French Public Law at the Faculty of Law, University College London (1983-84). British Council senior research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, London (1987-88).

Israel: Participation in vocational training courses on public law for judges, organised by the Sussman Institute of Advanced Judicial Studies, Jerusalem (from 1988).

Italy: Course on ‘Extradition and human rights’ at the Academy of European Law, Florence (1995).

Hungary: Lecturer in the Legal Studies Department of the Central European University, Budapest (1994-2010). Annual course on freedom of expression in Europe and North America and, from 2003, a course on the judicial control of the administration in administrative law in France.

Other activities outside France 

In Europe 

Consultation and cooperation: Member of the Commission of Jurists, presided over by Lloyd Cutler. The Commission was entrusted with making recommendations to the Czech government on drafting the constitution (1990-91). Consultation by the Czech administrative and legal authorities on the procedures for creating legal standards and implementing an administrative court system in the Czech Republic (1996).

Venice Commission: Participation in the international conference held in Warsaw on ‘The relationship between international and domestic law’. Presented a report at this conference on law and its practice in France (1993).

Salzburg Global Seminar: Director of the session on international law (1994). Joint director of the session on the international protection of human rights (1996).

European Institute of Public Administration: Participation in training sessions on EU law aimed at judges and officials from Austria, Finland and Sweden, organised in Luxembourg and Stockholm (1998 and 1999).

Evaluation of laws: Participation in a Council of Europe delegation to Tallinn, to evaluate the compatibility of Estonia’s legal system with the European Convention on Human Rights (1995). He participated in an identical delegation to Riga, Latvia (1996). Evaluation of draft legislation for Croatia on the freedom of assembly and association and the Republika Srpska on the police regulations (1997). Evaluation of the applicable law in Kosovo on the compatibility of the criminal process in the former Yugoslavia with the UNMIK mandate (1999). Editing of a chapter on ‘Judicial trust, the disciplinary system for judges and the responsibility of the State’ for a manual intended for judges in Russia (2001). Participation in the third delegation to evaluate judicial institutions. Presentation of a written report on the recruitment, training and evaluation of judges, the management of courts and international judicial cooperation. European Commission/ Justice and Domestic Affairs, Tallinn, Estonia (2002). European Commission delegation organised by Thalès to Skopje, Macedonia, to evaluate the draft Macedonian law on personal data protection and to make reports (2003-04).

European Commission: expert consultation provided for the draft directive on the recognition of refugee status (2001).

In Europe and beyond

Member of the Franco-British Lawyers Society.

Member of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges. (He participated in its formation in Warsaw in 1997 and was a member of the Executive Committee).

Member of the Advisory Council of INTERIGHTS, London.

Member of the editorial board of the following publications: Butterworths Human Rights Cases, European Public Law (Hull), Evropske a Mezidarodni Pravo (Prague and Utrecht), Human Rights Law Journal (Strasbourg), IJRL (International Journal of Refugee Law, Haarlem, Netherlands), Public Law (London), Revue trimestrielle des droits de l’homme (Brussels).