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Justice ruling  Court upholds Geneva crossborder pupils ban  

child raises hand in class

A pupil raises her hand in a Geneva primary school class

(Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi)

A local court has ruled that the Geneva authorities acted lawfully when they passed a regulation to stop crossborder pupils from France attending its state schools. The decision had been appealed by a group of parents. 

The Geneva government stopped new enrolments of pupils from across the border for the school year 2018/19 for budgetary reasons. 

+ Read more about the first attempt to stop crossborder pupils 

Before that, children had been accepted if there were spaces available. But now only children who have already started school in the western canton or who have a sibling in the school system are being accepted. 

The move, which concerns compulsory school - primary and secondary 1 (which ends at age 15/16) - caused an outcry, including among many Swiss living in the neighbouring French departments of Ain or Haute-Savoie. Most of them maintain close ties to their canton of origin, working there and paying a large part of their taxes to the cantonal authorities.  

Appeal rejected 

In a statement released on Friday, the administrative chamber of the canton’s Court of Justiceexternal link said that it had rejected the appeal. 

The court said that “the new measures relative to primary and secondary 1 education do not violate the Federal or Geneva constitutions, especially concerning the right to an adequate and free basic education”. It added that the enacting of the measures themselves was also lawful.   

Judges also pointed out that the children concerned could not assume a right to be educated in Geneva through the Free Movement of Peopleexternal link accord that has been signed bilaterally between the European Union and non-EU Switzerland. There is no discrimination based on this, they ruled. 

Romain Jordan, the lawyer representing several parents in the case, said they would be examining the court ruling further. “Most likely we will appeal to the Swiss Federal Court,” he said, referring to the country’s highest court in Lausanne. 

Swiss in France Outcry as Geneva keeps banning crossborder pupils

Canton Geneva wants to stop crossborder pupils from attending its schools. The move has angered many Swiss living in neighbouring France.


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