The French and Belgian bans on face veils in public places have been subjected to strong substantive human rights critiques. This article takes a complementary approach, examining the bans from the perspective of procedural fairness. Indeed, the French and Belgian bans are extreme examples of legislative processes taking place above the heads of the people concerned, neglecting the ban’s possible human rights impact. After exploring what the social psychology notion of procedural fairness entails for the judiciary and the legislator, especially in a multicultural context, this article details procedural fairness shortcomings with respect to the face veil ban in France and Belgium. Subsequently, the article sets out how the European Court of Human Rights might compensate for these shortcomings.
Tyler, Tom R., “Procedural Justice and the Courts”, Court Review, 44(1/2) (2008), p. 26; Tyler, Tom R., “What is procedural justice?: Criteria used by citizens to assess the fairness of legal procedures”, Law and Society Review, 22 (1988), p. 121; Gangl, Amy, “Procedural Justice Theory and Evaluations of the Lawmaking Process”, Political Behavior, 25, 2 (2003), p. 120 (with reference to Hibbing, John R., and Theiss-Morse, Elizabeth, “Process Preferences and American Politics: What the People Want Government to Be”, The American Political Science Review 95(1) (2001), pp. 145-153.
Tyler, Huo, Trust in the Law, p. 152; Burke, Kevin and Leben, Steve, “Procedural Fairness: A Key Ingredient in Public Satisfaction”, White paper for the American Judges Association (2007), p. 18; Tyler, Tom R., “Public Trust and Confidence in Legal Authorities: What Do Majority and Minority Group Members Want from the Law and Legal Institutions?”, Behavioral Sciences and the Law (2001), p. 217 (with references).
Tyler, Why People Obey The Law, p. 270,Tyler and Huo, Trust in the Law, pp. 142-146; Tyler, “Public Trust and Confidence in Legal Authorities: What Do Majority and Minority Group Members Want from the Law and Legal Institutions?”, p. 217; Levi, Margaret, Audrey Sacks, and Tom Tyler, “Conceptualizing Legitimacy, Measuring Legitimating Beliefs”, American Behavioral Scientist 53(3) (2009), p. 369.
Burke and Leben, “Procedural Fairness: A Key Ingredient in Public Satisfaction”, p. 7; Tyler, Why People Obey The Law, p. 152; see also Nussbaum, The New Religious Intolerance, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), p. 65.
Gabizon, Cécilia, “Sarkozy: ‘la burqa n’est pas la bienvenue’ ”, Le Figaro, 26 June 2009, http://www.lefigaro.fr/politique/2009/06/23/01002-20090623ARTFIG00055-sarkozy-la-burqa-n-est-pas-la-bienvenue-.php (Last consulted on 31/10/2012, our translation).
Tyler, Why People Obey the Law, p.119,referring to the criteria developed by G.S. Leventhal, “What should be done with equity theory?” in Social exchange: Advances in theory and research, Gergen, Greenberg and Weiss (eds.) (New York: Plenum), 1980, pp. 27-55.
Leane, Geoffrey W.G., “Rights of ethnic Minorities in Liberal Democracies: Has France Gone too far in Banning Muslim Women from wearing the Burka?”, HRQ33 (2011), p. 1053; Hunter-Henin, Myriam, “Why the French Don’t Like the Burqa: Laïcité, national Identity and Religious Freedom”, International and Comparative Law Quarterly 61(3) (2012), p. 613; Nanwani, Shaira, “The Burqa Ban: An Unreasonable Limitation on Religious Freedom or a Justifiable Restriction?”, Emory International Law Review 25 (2011), p. 1464. Cf. on the Netherlands: van Sasse van Ysselt, Paul, “Over het verbod op het dragen van een gezichtssluier en van andere gelaatsbedekkende kleding”, Tijdschrift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid 2010 (1), p. 7.
Delgrange, Xavier, “Quand la burqa passé à l’Ouest, la Belgique per-elle le Nord?”, in Quand la burqa passé à l’Ouest. Enjeux éthiques, politiques et juridiques, Roy, Olivier and Koussens, David (eds.) (Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes, forthcoming, 2013), p. 35; Hunter-Henin, “Why the French Don’t Like the Burqa: Laïcité, national Identity and Religious Freedom”, p. 617.
Gérin, “Rapport d’information fait en application de l’article 145 du règlement au nom de la mission d’information sur la pratique du port du voile intégral sur le territoire national”, p. 15-16; See Krivenko, “The Islamic Veil and its Discontents: How do they Undermine Gender Equality”, p. 21.
Hammarberg, Thomas, “Human Rights in Europe: no grounds for complacency”, Council of Europe Publishing(2011), p. 41; Joppke, “Limits of Restricting Islam: The French Burqa Law of 2010”, p. 28; Leane, “Rights of ethnic Minorities in Liberal Democracies: Has France Gone too far in Banning Muslim Women from wearing the Burka?”, p. 1060; Van der Schyff and Overbeeke, “Exercising religious freedom in the public space: a comparative and European Convention analysis of general burqa bans”, p. 15.
Martinez-Torron, Javier, “The (Un)protection of Individual Religious Identity in the Strasbourg Case Law”, Ox. J Law Religion(2012), pp. 13-14; Evans, Carolyn, Freedom of Religion under the European Convention on Human Rights (Oxford: 2001), pp. 120-124.
Leane, “Rights of ethnic Minorities in Liberal Democracies: Has France Gone too far in Banning Muslim Women from wearing the Burka?”, p. 1054; Krivenko, “The Islamic Veil and its Discontents: How do they Undermine Gender Equality”, p. 19; Evans, Malcolm, Manual on the Wearing of Religious Symbols in Public Areas, (Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing, 2009), p. 44.
See for example Rorive, Isabelle, “Religious Symbols in the Public Space: In search of a European Answer”, Cardozo L. Rev.(2008-2009) and Lewis, “What not to wear: Religious rights, the European Court, and the margin of appreciation”.
Cf. Ferrari, Silvio, “The Strasbourg Court and Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights: A Quantitative Analysis of the Case Law” in The Lautsi Papers: Multidisciplinary Reflections on Religious Symbols in the Public School Classroom,Temperman, Jeroen (ed.) (Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, 2012) p. 23 and Martinez-Torron, “The (Un)protection of Individual Religious Identity in the Strasbourg Case Law”, p. 6.