NEWS BRIEF Authorities in the town of Villeneuve-Loubet do not have the right to ban the burqini, France’s highest administrative court ruled Friday in a landmark decision.
Though it only applies to the French Riviera town, the ruling from the State Council is expected to set a legal precedent for the 26 towns where the ban has been in place. It reads:
In Villeneuve-Loubet, there is no evidence that there were any risks that public order was disturbed by people's choice of bathing garment. With such risks being absent, the mayor could not implement a measure prohibiting access to the beach and bathing. The judges of the State Council thus suspend this ban.
The State Council’s decision overturns a lower court ruling on Monday, which said the swimsuit ban was “necessary, appropriate, and proportionate” to preventing public disorder. France’s Human Rights League (LDH) and the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) appealed this decision Thursday, arguing the proscription on the full-body swimwear favored by some Muslim women infringed on individuals’ basic freedoms.
Patrice Spinosi, the lawyer representing the LDH, said towns where the ban is in place should adopt the precedent, and all women who received 38-euro fines for wearing the burqini can have them contested.
“Today the state of law is that these ordinances are not justified,” Spinosi said of the decision Friday. “They violate fundamental liberties and they should be withdrawn."