The prefecture wanted the Lille Administrative Court to authorize the closure of shops and restaurants created by the migrants in the Jungle, and their destruction (see here and here). This morning the court rendered its judgment: the request of the prefecture is rejected. In the afternoon the prefecture has announced that they will appeal to the rejection. It is now time for the Council of State to say its words.

The court rejected the request of the Prefecture of both the urgency (the procedure used by the prefecture, in chambers, assumes an urgency to decide) and the utility (what the  the prefecture is asking for won’t lead to the desired goals): “it follows from the foregoing, even though the concerns expressed by the prefect of Pas-de-Calais are quite understandable in view of its mission that, that the conditions  ofemergency and utility required by the provisions of Article L. 521-3 of the code of administrative justice are not fulfilled for the right to expell the owners of 72 illegal sales structures identified on Lande on the site of Calais and that the premises be returned to their original state; and that consequently, the application must be rejected in all its conclusions.

The court based its decision on three main considerations: the situation lasts from the beginning of the slum in April 2015, and the shops and restaurants have multiplied with the increasing of the population, which questions the urgency to act now; the destruction of these places would not solve the issues of dangerousness and violence in the slum, the measure won’t achieve the goal; these places have, in fact, a real social utility in the slum, and their destruction would make the lives of its inhabitants even more difficult ( “Considering, thirdly, that these grocery stores, cafes and restaurant serve other functions also have their importance for men, women and children who arrived in Calais after long and painful journeys and even when they reside in the structures set up by the state, they live in extremely precarious conditions and total idleness; there are meeting places between migrants and sometimes with volunteers who are available to help and advise them as to enable them, for some, to take shelter from the weather, to rest and relax; they have the opportunity to recharge their mobile phones, which is essential for them in order to keep in touch with their families and loved ones; they also provide for new arrivals a free hosting solution for the first few nights.

But the court introduced, on a side, another discussion, in its 6th reason for its decision, which is also the longest, which suggests it may have some importance “that these plots […] by an agreement of 3 December 2015 […] these lands are given to the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais for a period of six years, to enable it to respond to the humanitarian emergency resulting from the occupation of these places by migrants since 2015; this agreement provides that these lands are “related to missions pursued by the State” for the temporary reception of migrants in addition to the Jules Ferry day care center, and that the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais “takes all responsibilities arising from the occupation of the site “; that the lands constituting the northern part of the site, were the subject of the essential adjustments to ensure the public service in the emergency reception of migrants on the state initiative and by the injunction of the judge in Lille administrative Court and the State Council;

The state has the management of the site to host the migrants and is responsible for what is in place. Part of the basic services that the State set up have been done under the pressure of a judgment of the State Council. And – the judge does not say it, but how do not think this reading his conclusions – though there still are inhumane conditions, dangerous places, a fertile environment for violence… isn’t the State responsible for that? And that he will appeal to the court against the consequences of his own depravity, and call for the destruction of what overcomes its own shortcomings?

And if the State appealed against the judgment of the Administrative Court of Lille, it is not only to destroy the shops and restaurants of the slum, is to erase the image of his responsibility in the shameful situation he created and maintains.

You can download the judgment of the Lille tribunal here.