Quebec’s top court rules woman wearing hijab was entitled to have case heard

Ironic that this decision (a correct one) comes just as the incoming CAQ government has confirmed its party platform prohibiting religious symbols on public servants in positions of authority.

Different issues, of course, but both are symbolic of the ongoing identity/secularism debates:

Quebec’s highest court has ruled a woman who was denied justice three years ago after a judge ordered her to remove her hijab was entitled to be heard by the court.

The unanimous judgment rendered today in favour of Rania El-Alloul says the Quebec court dress code does not forbid head scarves if they constitute a sincere religious belief and don’t harm the public interest.

In 2015, Judge Eliana Marengo refused to hear a case involving El-Alloul’s impounded car because El-Alloul refused to remove her Islamic head scarf in the courtroom.

Marengo told her at the time that decorum was important and, in her opinion, El-Alloul wasn’t suitably dressed.

El-Alloul’s lawyers had appealed the Quebec Superior Court’s 2016 decision refusing to declare that she had the right to be heard by the court despite her attire.

Today’s judgment by the Quebec Court of Appeal quashes the original judgment by the trial judge and sets aside the Superior Court judgment that denied relief.

Julius Grey, one of El-Alloul’s lawyers, says he’s pleased with the ruling that puts both issues to rest.

Source: Quebec’s top court rules woman wearing hijab was entitled to have case heard

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

One Response to Quebec’s top court rules woman wearing hijab was entitled to have case heard

  1. Robert Addington says:

    Would Judge Marengo have made the same decision if the witness had been a Catholic nun wearing a veil?

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