Has the administrative court of Grenoble dealt a blow to the use of inclusive writing? In decision rendered Thursday, May 11the court annulled a deliberation taken on July 16, 2020 by the board of directors of the University of Grenoble-Alpes approving the statutes of the language service of the establishment.
In question: the use in the latter of the “midpoint”, a typographical sign which allows the use of the masculine and the feminine in the same word. The text, incriminated by an ociate professor of English, who seized the administrative court, specified for example that “the director of the language service is elected for five years by secret ballot” or that “the meeting is chaired by the outgoing director”. This decision revives the legal debate on the use of inclusive writing in administrative acts.
The requirement for “clarity and [d’]intelligibility »
To annul the deliberation establishing the new statutes, the Administrative Court of Grenoble relied on the necessary “clarity and intelligibility of the standard”, a requirement set in 1999 by the Constitutional Council. For the judge, the repeated use of the midpoint would not ensure that the document “a level of clarity to guarantee its immediate accessibility”.
An interpretation disputed by Benjamin Moron-Puech, professor of law at the University Lumière Lyon-II, himself a user of inclusive writing in exam subjects. According to him, “the principle of clarity and intelligibility of the standard, identified by the Constitutional Council in 1999, has been used in very specific cases which in no way correspond to the use thus made of it”.
For the jurist, these two requirements have sometimes given rise to censure, but “always in factual cases” : two contradictory deadlines, law relating to deputies but affecting senators, etc. “Taking the opposite view of the Administrative Court of Grenoble, one could even say that the statutes of the university contribute to the constitutional necessity of precise and unequivocal normshe develops. The text is precise: it removes any ambiguities about the gender of its recipients. And unequivocally: anyone who reads it knows it’s inclusive writing. »
An inclusive plate admitted to the Paris City Hall
To support its argument, the Administrative Court of Grenoble also relies on a declaration of October 26, 2017 of the French Academy. In this text, the Immortals warn about a language “in mortal peril” facing the“inclusive aberration” : “The multiplication of spelling and syntactic marks that it induces leads to a disunited language, disparate in its expression, creating a confusion that borders on illegibility. » In a decision of March 14, the administrative court of Paris had another use of the opinion of the academicians, considering that their open letter of May 7, 2017also denouncing inclusive writing, was “no impact” on the legality of a decision of the City of Paris.
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