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Law and Religion Scholars Network

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Case Database 2001

This list includes significant judgments delivered in 2001.

United Kingdom

PRETTY (R, ON THE APPLICATION OF) v DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS & SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT [2001] UKHL 61 (29 November 2001): the appellant was not entitled to a declaration to oblige the DPP to give an undertaking in advance that her husband would not be prosecuted under section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 if he assisted her to commit suicide abroad: the policy was not contrary to her Convention rights and ‘The power to dispense with and suspend laws and the execution of laws without the consent of parliament was denied to the Crown and its servants by the Bill of Rights 1688’ (per L Bingham of Cornhill): see also PRETTY v UNITED KINGDOM [2002] ECtHR (No. 2346/02) (29 April 2002).

SULAIMAN v JUFFALI [2002] 1 FLR 479, [2002] 2 FCR 427 (November 2001): upon the breakdown of the marriage of a Muslim couple with Saudi Arabian nationality and domicile who had been married there, the husband pronounced talaq in England and registered this with the sharia court in Saudi, whereupon the wife petitioned for  a civil divorce in England: Munby J refused to acknowledge the effect of the talaq,  since divorces obtained otherwise than by proceedings in a court of civil jurisdiction were not to be recognised and that rule applied to all informal divorces, irrespective of the nature of the parties’ religious or other beliefs.

R v TAYLOR [2001] EWCA Crim 2263 (23 October 2001): though the Criminal Justice Act 1988 s 139(5) (b) provided a religious defence in certain circumstances to a charge of possessing a bladed weapon, there was no statutory defence of ‘religious use’ for a Rastafarian charged with the possession of cannabis contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971:  see also R v LAMBERT [2001] UKHL 37 (5 July 2001) paras 78–81.

RE CRAWLEY GREEN ROAD CEMETERY, LUTON: [2001] Fam 308: a faculty was granted for a widow to disinter the cremated remains of her husband from a Christian cemetery for reburial because they were both humanists: Bursell Ch took the view that because an ecclesiastical court was a public authority for the purposes of s.6 (3) Human Rights Act 1998 he had to have regard to that Act and that the matter engaged Article 9 (thought, conscience and religion) ECHR: it would be incompatible with the petitioner’s convention rights to refuse to allow her to remove her husband’s ashes from a burial-place that was, in her eyes, hypocritical and contrary to her humanist beliefs.


METROPOLITAN CHURCH OF BESSARABIA AND OTHERS v MOLDOVA [2001] ECtHR 860 (no.45701/99) (13 December 2001): Moldova’s refusal to recognise the applicant Church on the grounds that this was ‘necessary to preserve social peace and understanding among believers’ was disproportionate to the legitimate aim pursued and violated Article 9 ECHR (thought, conscience and religion) and Article 13 (effective remedy): it was not necessary separately to examine the issues under Articles 6 and 11: (2003) 151 L&J 137-162.

DAHLAB v SWITZERLAND [2001] ECtHR (No. 42393/98) (15 January 2001): where a Muslim primary school teacher wore the hijab at school, though there had been no complaints from parents the decision of Canton of Geneva to ban her from doing so was a justifiable and proportionate interference with her rights under Article 9 ECHR (thought, conscience and religion): the decision was ‘fully in accordance with the principle of denominational neutrality in schools, a principle that seeks both to protect the religious beliefs of pupils and parents and to ensure religious harmony, which in some respects is still fragile..; schools would be in danger of becoming places of religious conflict if teachers were allowed to manifest their religious beliefs through their conduct and, in particular, their clothing’ and there were ‘significant public interest grounds for prohibiting the appellant from wearing an Islamic headscarf’.

LARSN Case Database

2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1990s 1980s 1970s