Home International Cases S.A.S. v France

European Court of Human Rights
Dean Spielmann, President, Josep Casadevall, Guido Raimondi, Ineta Ziemele, Mark Villiger, Boštjan M. Zupančič, Elisabeth Steiner, Khanlar Hajiyev, Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, Ledi Bianku, Ganna Yudkivska, Angelika Nußberger, Erik Møse, André Potocki, Paul Lemmens, Helena Jäderblom, Aleš Pejchal
Key words
The Law of 11 October 2010 “prohibiting the concealment of one’s face in public places”
Cases referred to
Counsel who appeared
Date of Decision
Judgement by Name of Judge/s
Noteworthy information relating to the case

Plaint dismissed

Other information


S.A.S. v France

No. 43835/11

Facts of the case

A French citizen filed an application against France to challenge the ban on the full face veil (Law no. 2010-1192 of 11 October 2010 entered into force in France on 11 April 2011, prohibiting any person from concealing their face in public). 


She argued that as a woman wearing a face veil, the ban constituted a violation of her right to private life, freedom of religion, freedom of expression and her right not to be discriminated against.

Findings related to FoRB

FoRB violation – Manifestation: worship, observance, practice, teaching


  • (1) , the Court accepted two legitimate aims on the part of the state as falling within the scope of Article 9(2) in principle:
    1. the protection of public safety (indicated by the reference to this aim in the explanatory memorandum which accompanied the bill); and 
    2. the protection of the rights and freedom of others. The latter was found to be present on the basis that an aim of “the respect for the minimum requirements of life in society” – or everyone “living together” – could, under certain circumstances, be linked with the legitimate aim of the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. The Court accepted that “the barrier raised against others by a veil concealing the face is perceived by the respondent… as breaching the right of others to live in a space of socialisation which makes living together easier”.

    (2) The court held that the ban imposed was to be regarded as proportionate to the aim pursued, namely the preservation of the conditions of “living together” as an element of the “protection of the rights and freedoms of others” and thus no violation of Articles 8 or 9 of the Convention was found.