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The legitimacy of area-based restrictions to maintain public order: giving content to the proportionality principle from a European legal perspective

Book Contribution - Chapter

This contribution aims to provide a first exploratory analysis of the criteria that must be taken into account by national authorities when considering the proportionality of public order measures restricting the individual's fundamental right to freedom of movement, such as area-based restrictions. The content of the proportionality principle as regards area-based restrictions is not always clear, in particular at European human rights level, while it is an important condition that these restrictions be compatible with the right to freedom of movement. To that end, this article first gives a brief overview of the content of this principle at European level. In order to find some inspiration, it then compares it with the interpretation of this principle at national level, more specifically Belgium and the United Kingdom, where new forms of area-based restrictions have been introduced recently. The case law of the Belgian Council of State is an interesting case to examine since the Council applies a different proportionality test depending on the legal classification of the measure imposed. The contribution proceeds with an analysis of the proportionality principle in the UK case law, where it is a relative newcomer used instead of the traditional "Wednesbury unreasonableness" test in cases that fall under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Book: Public administration yearbook
Pages: 128 - 155
Publication year:2017