Born in 1949, Jean-Marc Sauvé earned his degree from the Institut d’études politiques (IEP) de Paris. He holds a masters degree in Economics and is an alumni of the Ecole nationale d’administration (André Malraux, 1975-1977). He became auditor for the Council of State in 1977.

Technical advisor in the offices of the Minister of Justice for Maurice Faure and Robert Badinter from 1981 to 1983, he was Director of the General Administration and Equipment of the Minister of Justice from 1983 to 1988, Director of Civil Liberties and Legal Affairs for the Minister of the Interior from 1988 to 1994. He was named Prefect of Aisne in 1994. Maître des requêtes for the Council of State in 1983, he became State Councilor and Government General Secretary in 1995.

Vice President of the Council of State from 2006 to 2018, he was also a member of the Atomic Energy Committee from 1995 to 2006, President of the French Academy in Rome-Villa Médicis from 1999 to 2008, Administrator for the Public Institution of the Louvre Museum from 2002 to 2008, and for the Ecole Nationale d’Administration from 2006 to 2018.

In 2010, Jean-Marc Sauvé presided over the Commission for Reflection on the Prevention of Conflicts of Interest in Public Life and submitted a report to the President of the Republic on the Ethics of Public Life. After being recommended by the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, he was in charge of evaluating the capabilities of candidates for the position of Judge and General Counsel to the Court of Justice and the Court of the European Union. He also presided over the Association of Councils of State and High Administrative Jurisdictions of the European Union from 2012 to 2014 and the High Council of Administrative Tribunals and Administrative Courts of Appeal from 2006 to 2018.

Jean-Marc Sauvé has published many articles and given many conferences on the question of public law, European law, and on the relationship between national and European law. He helped draw up many reports of public interest.

Jean-Marc Sauvé has been President of the National Foundation of the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris since October 20th, 2017 and is Honorary Vice President for the Council of State. Since 2018, he has also been President of the Apprentis d’Auteuil Foundation, President of the Ethics Committee for Paris 2024, of the Ethics Committee for the Company for Delivery of Olympic Works (Solideo), and President of the Independent Committee on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church.

In 2018, Jean-Marc Sauvé was Chairman of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church. Since October 18, 2021, he is Chairman of an independent committee within the framework of the « Etats généraux de la justice ».

Since 2010, Jean-Marc Sauvé has been Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple. He is High Officer of the Legion of Honor, High Officer of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and Commissionary of Arts and Literature.