Free access for law enforcement to common areas validated by the Constitutional Council

The Constitutional Council validated, Thursday, September 14, a legislative provision authorizing permanent access by the police to the common areas of residential buildings without the agreement of the owners, provided that the interventions take place within the framework provided by law.

The judges ruled on a priority question of constitutionality (QPC) relating to a provision of the Matras law, adopted in 2021, under which owners must ensure that the police are “able to access the common areas of buildings for the purposes of intervention”.

During the hearing at the end of July, the applicant’s lawyer, Me Eric Plouvier, considered that this text was a disproportionate attack on the right to respect for private life, evoking a right of access “unconditional” to the common areas of a building without prior authorization from the judicial authority.

He explained that a police officer or gendarme could thus trigger a preliminary investigation known as “initiative”This “which does not require an offense to be defined”carry out identity checks in common areas, take photos or listen at doors, this “without the control of a magistrate taking place before six months”.

“No free hand to the police »

The judges did not accept this argument, even if they did issue a ” reserve “. They thus consider that the contested provisions “are not intended and cannot have the effect of allowing [aux forces de l’ordre] to access these places for purposes other than the performance of only the acts that the law authorizes them to perform”.

According to their decision, the intervention of the police can only take place “as part of a judicial police operation, in particular during a preliminary investigation”. Furthermore, investigative acts cannot be carried out “that under the control of a public prosecutor to whom it is up to (…) to control its proportionality with regard to the nature and seriousness of the facts”.

To the question of whether this access could be authorized in common areas for private use, the judges replied that the police cannot access “at places likely to constitute a domicile”.

An agreement is currently being negotiated between the State and the Vigik ociation to provide a universal badge for access to law enforcement. “The law is certainly validated but the courts will not be able to ignore this decision”reacted to Agence France-Presse (AFP) Me Plover. “They will now have to ess the proportionality of the presence of gendarmes or police officers in the common areas with the objective of the investigation pursued, since there is a “reservation” from the Council and the reminder that the prosecutor controls the actions of the investigators »he added, stressing that the Constitutional Council “do not give a blank check to the police”.

The World with AFP

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