The highest administrative court canceled the decree of March 24, 2021 and the decree of April 27, 2021, considering in its decision that exclusive use of teleservice can only be imposed if “the normal access of users to the public service and the effective exercise of their rights are guaranteed”.
Alerted to numerous malfunctions for users who have been unable to complete their procedures on the internet since the entry into force of these texts on May 1, 2021, several associations and unions, including Cimade, the Human Rights League or again the Syndicate of Lawyers of France, had seized the Council of State.
“Given the characteristics of the public concerned, the diversity and complexity of the applicants’ situations and the consequences” of an administrative blockage on users (switching into hiding, loss of the right to work, etc.), “it it is up to the regulatory power, when it imposes the use of a teleservice to obtain certain residence permits, to provide (…) support”, writes the Council of State in its decision.
“It is also incumbent on him, for the same reasons, to guarantee the possibility of using an alternative solution, in the event that certain applicants come up against, despite this support, the impossibility of using the teleservice for reasons relating to the design of this tool or the way it works.”
Concretely, this amounts to asking the State to again provide physical access to the prefectures for certain cases.
The State has “the obligation to preserve an alternative” to all digital, welcomed the services of the Defender of Rights (DDD) to AFP, whose opinion the Council of State had requested in the context of of this litigation and which had produced several reports on the subject.
Not offering an alternative, we specify within the independent authority, is “factor of infringements of rights”, especially since the platform dedicated to foreigners encounters “difficulties at all stages of the procedure “, resulting in “concrete repercussions” for users, from “loss of employment” to “breaking of social rights”.
Until the government reviews its copy, “the administration will be required, by exception, to allow the filing (of applications for residence permits) according to another modality”, added the Council of State in a press release. .