No5 Chambers barrister represents ‘burqa ban’ client at the European Court of Human Rights

A barrister from No5 Chambers was in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) at the end of November, representing his client who wants the ECHR to recognise that the French ban on wearing full-face veils is discriminatory.

Ramby De Mello argued on behalf of his client, known by her initials SAS, that the ban of the full-face veil breached her right to privacy, freedom to manifest her religious belief and that the law prohibiting the wearing of the veil is discriminatory on grounds of gender and religion. 

SAS did not attend court. She testified in writing that she is not pressurised to wear the veil and that she will readily remove it in circumstances where security requires her to. Judgment in SAS v France is expected to be handed down in 2014.