1971 Wash. U. L. Q. 45 (1971)
Development of the Theory of the Right to Privacy in France, The; Wagner, Wenceslas J.

handle is hein.journals/walq1971 and id is 56 raw text is: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE THEORY OF THE
RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN FRANCE
WENCESLAS J. WAGNER*
Lacking legislative enactments on the right to privacy, French courts
had to tackle the problems of privacy from case to case, in the common
law way; but judicial decisions did not establish any general principles.
While American and English judgments are elaborate and lay down legal
theories, French decisions are extremely short, failing in some instances to
give a clear picture of the facts, omitting the discussion of various aspects
of the problem and abstaining from developing solid theoretical bases for
their holdings. It is well known that French judgments are written in the
form of a recitation which has only commas or semi-colons between the
ideas expressed and thus constitutes only one sentence, however long it
may be. The task of establishing a legal theory of the right to privacy was
thus left to the legal writers.
The purpose of the following introductory observations to the French
law of privacy is to present the ideas on this subject which have been
expressed by scholars and commentators. This body of materials, known
as LA DOCTRINE, is an important source of the law in the civil law world.
Similar civilizations give rise to similar legal problems. In the Western
world, for many centuries there was no pressing necessity to protect the
citizens from the indiscretion of others. In England, one's home was his
castle, the access to which-without proper authorization -was
forbidden to the government's officials as well as to private individuals.
The basic common law concept of trespass, having no parallel in other
legal systems, testifies to the esteem which the society developed for the
land of its citizens. This tradition passed to the United States, where
frequently private residences, surrounded by a few acres of lawn, are
separated from each other only by imaginary borders.' No walls are
necessary.
The lack of a tangible obstacle making it difficult to penetrate through
the property of others may result in false inferences by the superficial
and uninitiated observer. Thus, Mr. Robert Lindon, one of the highest
judicial officers in France, admittedly drawing his knowledge about the
United States from motion pictures, arrived at the conclusion that the
* Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law.
1. Lindon, Lapresse et la vieprive'e, [1965] J.C.P. 1. 1887.

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