The French Court of Cassation has developed an extensive interpretation of the non-systematic nature of identity checks

Cour de cassation, civile, Chambre civile 1, 25 mai 2016, 15-50.065, Inédit

The present case concerned the rules regarding the identity check.
Mr. X., a Senegalese national, having been illegally in France, was placed in administrative detention as a result of an identity check carried out in Paris at the train station ‘‘gare de Lyon ‘‘by the department head of the brigade of railway networks, a judicial police officer. The latter had ordered identity checks for a period of four hours in order to verify the compliance with the retention of documents for transit and residence.

To end the administrative detention of Mr. X., the order issued by the first president of the Court of appeal of Paris (Cour d‘appel de Paris)   held that the identity checks were not performed across the station but on a specific platform, according to information previously collected on the arrival of illegal migrants.

Therefore, the random nature of the identity checks, as required by Article 78-2, paragraph 8 of the Criminal Procedure Code, implies not only that the control should not be systematic but that only the randomness should determine the choice of the checked persons.

However, the Court of cassation (Cour de cassation) annulled the order issued by the first president of the Court of appeal of Paris.

The Court of cassation referred to Article 78-2, paragraph 8, of the Criminal Procedure Code and to Articles 67, § 2 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and 20 and 21 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006.

The Court of cassation also referred to the police report and found that the identity checks, limited to the part of the station where there was circulating a train used by illegal immigration networks, were conducted for the prevention and detection of offenses related to cross-border crime, for a period not exceeding six hours in a targeted manner, whenever and wherever, which was sufficient to ensure the non-systematic nature of the operations.

The full text is available on EuroCases

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