Muslim Pupil Loses Veil Challenge

February 21, 2007

Source: The Guardian,,2018006,00.html

A 12-year-old Muslim girl today lost her high court challenge to her school's ban on wearing the niqab full-face veil.

Lawyers for the girl and her father had argued that the ban was "irrational" and a breach of her human rights, but Mr Justice Silber rejected their plea for a judicial review.

The girl's lawyers said after the judgment that she and her family were "bitterly disappointed" and were considering an appeal. Although the judge refused the girl permission to appeal, her lawyers can still apply to the court of appeal for leave.

The judge was told at a recent hearing that the girl's three elder sisters all attended the same school - two of them under the present headteacher - and all wore the niqab.

The girl, referred to as X - she is protected by an anonymity order, as is her Buckinghamshire school - argued that the ban thwarted her "legitimate expectation" that she would be allowed to wear the niqab and breached her right to freedom of "thought, conscience and religion" under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.