Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Privacy matters in France

In an interesting development, the French courts have ruled against the French equivalent of 'Rate My Teacher' website. The court decided that it was a breach of the right to private life and a threat to public order.

This contrasts interestingly with the general legal view in Britain that the right of free speech overrides everything. (However, this particular case has not been argued in court). The French view clearly is that it is subject to the rights and freedoms of others and to the safety of the public.

If the case reaches the European Court of Human Rights, it will be interesting to see whether the court agrees that these different interpretations are within the 'margin of appreciation' which nations are allowed in their interpretation of human rights. If not, it will be interesting to see which way the court goes.

The French Ministry of Education has welcomed the result as giving support to teachers in the difficult work they do. English teachers, for once, may feel a certain desire for a little school in France coming on.

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