this lawyer won against the state

In Yvelines, Hauts-de-Seine, Essonne and Haut-Rhin, the administrative courts have decided to indefinitely suspend the prefectural decrees which imposed the health pass at the entrance to shopping centers of more than 20,000 m2 . In question: these decrees did not respect the obligation laid down by law to allow access to the shops of first necessity within these same shopping centers. Yoann Sibille, lawyer and resident of Yvelines, is one of those who filed an interim suspension with the administrative court to challenge this measure. The court gave him his case. Mariannespoke with him.

Marianne: Why did you decide to challenge the health pass requirement at the entrance to shopping centers in the Yvelines?

Master Yoann Sibille: I filed this summary suspension in a personal capacity. In the So Ouest mall I go to, there is a mall located at the entrance and yet it was impossible to get to it. As a lawyer, jurist but also as a private person, this decision shocked me a lot. It was not a question of playing the vigilante but I am attached to respect for the rule of law. However, by requiring a health pass at the entrance to shopping centers without providing consumers with the possibility of accessing basic necessities in these same shopping centers, the prefects violated the law as passed by Parliament and validated by the Constitutional Council.

Could you explain to us what exactly your request was about?

It’s simple: the prefectural decree subjecting access to shopping centers to the presentation of a health pass in the Yvelines was illegal. The Constitutional Council recalled this in its decision to validate the law of August 8, 2021. What the Council says and which has been voted by Parliament is that for a prefect to restrict access to these places , it must guarantee access to basic necessities within these shopping centres. In other words, supermarkets and stores selling basic necessities within these shopping centers must remain accessible, even without a health pass. The prefect replied that this access was possible in the living area of ​​the inhabitants of Yvelines, but this is not what the law says: the law requires that this access be guaranteed within the shopping centers in question.

That is to say that the prefect of Hauts-de-Seine did not respect the law?

This law was passed by the deputies and was obviously trampled under foot by certain prefects. What is surprising is that these prefects are under the direct authority of the government. I cannot say why these decrees were taken in this form. Either it’s a mistake or it’s deliberate, which would be very problematic.

“In the Yvelines, you no longer have to present your health pass at the entrance to shopping centers”

What did the administrative court find?

That the decree was illegal and therefore constituted an attack on the freedom to come and go. We could even go further because the law which introduced the health pass also introduced an offense of abusive presentation. That is to say, requiring the presentation of a health pass outside the conditions provided for by law is punishable by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of €45,000. In the Yvelines, you no longer have to present your health pass at the entrance to shopping centers.

Could this decision make a splash?

It is already spreading: there was a decision in Essonne, a decision in Hauts-de-Seine, even more argued. Each time, the arguments of the prefectures were rejected. A decision in Val-d’Oise should follow tomorrow.

Can we envisage that the sanitary pass will also be canceled in other public places such as cafes or restaurants?

It seems rather unlikely to me. The annulment in this case is really about the violation of the text of the law. The situation is very different for cafes, bars or restaurants.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the government would appeal the cancellations. On what grounds?

The government has already appealed and to be honest, it is very surprising. We will have to see what arguments they can present to the Council of State. At this point, it’s very hard to say.

READ ALSO: Health pass in shopping centers: from protest to cacophony

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