Legitimate expectations and legal certainty in French administrative law

European law played a key role for developing the legal certainty principle in France. French administrative law has strong objective dimensions, based on the promotion of the general interest, rather than that of individual rights. For a long time, the French Council of State considered legal certainty as potentially contrary to the legality principle. Things changed in 1990s: the Council of State referred legal certainty and legitimate expectations in cases relating to the enforcement of European law. In 2006, it accepted legal certainty in purely domestic situations. This seems to demonstrate a gradual acclimatization of legal certainty in France. However, a story of deeper resistance can be told. First, the principle of legal certainty has been adapted to promote mainly its collective dimension. Secondly, legitimate expectations are only used in marginal cases. Thus French administrative law maintains its objective dimension, without much adaptation to more subjective concerns.