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Law and Religion Scholars Network

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Case Database 2005

This list includes significant judgments delivered in 2005.

United Kingdom

MAYUUF v GOVERNING BODY OF BISHOP CHALLONER CATHOLIC COLLEGIATE SCHOOL & ANOR [2005] Employment Tribunal Case no. 3202398/04 (21 December 2005): a refusal to allow the applicant, a Muslim, time off to attend Friday prayers was proportionate and justified in terms of the demands of the school’s teaching timetable  and was not indirect discrimination contrary to the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.

PERCY v BOARD OF NATIONAL MISSION OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND [2005] UKHL 73 (15 DECEMBER 2005); [2006] 2 AC 28: where a female minister had been persuaded to demit status after an accusation of adultery, the question as to whether or not she was ‘employed’ (and therefore within the scope of Sex Discrimination Act 1975) rested on a false apposition between ‘office’ and ‘employment’: in certain circumstances a minister of religion could have a contractual relationship with his or her Church as an employee: in the absence of express intention the provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 could not be set aside, and by entering into a contract for services the parties brought themselves within the civil law and took the relationship outside the exclusive jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts, so that the provisions of Church of Scotland Act 1921 did not apply to the case: the judgment of the Inner House in PERCY v BOARD OF NATIONAL MISSION OF THE CHURCH [2001] CS (IH) 65 (20 March 2001) reversed (Lord Hoffmann dissenting).

R & ORS, R (ON THE APPLICATION OF) v LEEDS CITY COUNCIL [2005] EWHC 2495 (Admin) (11 November 2005): the refusal by the Council to provide free school transport to Manchester for nine Jewish children living in Leeds so that they could attend King David High School or the Manchester Jewish Grammar Schooldid not engage Articles 8 (private and family life), 9 (thought, conscience and religion) or Article 2 of Protocol 1 (education) (education) ECHR: the Council had neither sought to deny them access to any of the educational institutions within its control nor failed to respect the right of their parents to ensure education in conformity with their religious convictions.

DEHAL v CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE [2005] EWHC 2154 (Admin) (27 September 2005): a notice posted in a Sikh temple denouncing its president as, inter alia, a hypocrite, a liar and a ‘proud, mad dog’ did not constitute an offence under sections 4A or 5 of the of the Public Order Act 1986, since ‘a criminal prosecution was unlawful as a result of section 3 of the Human Rights Act and Article 10 [ECHR (freedom of expression)] unless and until it could be established that such a prosecution was necessary in order to prevent public disorder’ (para 12).

COPSEY v WWB DEVON CLAYS LTD [2005] EWCA Civ 932 (25 July 2005): a worker who had been sacked for refusing either to work on Sundays or to take another job with the same employer that would not have involved Sunday working had not been unfairly dismissed:  the dismissal was procedurally and substantively fair and no sensible alternative could be found: nor had it materially interfered with his rights under Article 9 ECHR (thought, conscience and religion) – but had it done so such interference would have been justified.

BOUGHTON, R (ON THE APPLICATION OF) v HER MAJESTY'S TREASURY [2005] EWHC 1914 (Admin) (25 July 2005): an application by the ‘Peace Tax Seven’ for judicial review of HM Treasury’s refusal to setup a fund to receive that part of the taxes paid by those with conscientious objections to military spending so that their taxes would only be put to non-military uses was refused: it did not violate Article 9 EHCR (thought, conscience and religion) because ' the obligation to pay taxes is a general one… it is neutral [and]… there is no power by the law of any state that the taxpayer can influence or determine the purpose for which his or her contributions are applied and the Convention recognised the power to tax as one which was upheld by the First Protocol’’ (per Collins J at para 20).

FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND [CONTINUING] v GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND [2005] CSOH 46 (24 MARCH 2005): the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), which had split from the Free Church of Scotland (the FC) in 2000, was not entitled to the property and assets held in trust for the FC nor to a proportion of them to be determined by the court: though neither party had departed from the fundamental tenets of the Church and neither party had forfeited any entitlement to the assets and property held in trust for the FC, the Lord Ordinary [Lady Paton] concluded that ‘it would… be inappropriate… to rule [on] a possible apportionment of the property and assets between pursuers and defenders’.

NICHOLSON v ASPIRE TRUST [2005] Employment Tribunal Case no. 2601009/004 (21 March 2005): the applicant, an atheist, had been constructively dismissed: the Trust (established by the Elim Pentecostal Church) had not honoured its stated commitment to treat him equally in spite of his avowed lack of Christian belief and he had been discriminated against contrary to the Employment and Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (the Chairman, Jeans QC, dissenting).

WILLIAMSON & ORS, R (ON THE APPLICATION OF) v SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT & ORS [2005] UKHL 15 (24 February 2005): the House of Lords rejected the argument that section 548(1) of the Education Act 1996 (which prohibits teachers in maintained schools and teachers within the independent sector who received public funding to from administering corporal punishment) did not apply where parents had delegated to a teacher their common law right to discipline their child and infringed their rights under Article 9 ECHR (thought, conscience and religion), since the purpose of the section was to prohibit the use of corporal punishment by all teachers in all schools and parents could not merely opt in or out of the prohibition: though Article 9 was certainly engaged, the ban was justified under Article 9(2): ‘Everyone… is entitled to hold whatever beliefs he wishes. But when questions of ‘manifestation’ arise.., a belief must satisfy some modest, objective minimum requirements’ (per L Nicholls of Birkenhead).

FUGLER v MACMILLAN–LONDON HAIR STUDIOS LTD [2005] Employment Tribunal Case No. 2205090/04: refusal to allow a Jewish employee to take a Saturday off for Yom Kippur, which fell the busiest day of the week for the employer, put Jewish people at a disadvantage: the employer had not been justified in refusing Mr Fugler’s request for holiday as it had failed to consider whether its staffing needs could have been met in some other way on that particular occasion.

WILLIAMS-DRABBLE v PATHWAY CARE SOLUTIONS [2005] Employment Tribunal Case No. 2601718/04: the imposition of a permanent work rota requiring occasional Sunday shifts indirectly discriminated against an active Christian whose church held only one service at 5pm (and who had made it clear when in accepting the job six months earlier that she was unable to work on Sundays): the discrimination amounted to a breach of the implied duty of mutual trust and confidence and the employee’s claim for constructive unfair dismissal should also succeed.


PATUREL v FRANCE [2005] ECtHR (No. 54968/00) (22 December 2005) [French text only]: fining the applicant, a Jehovah’s Witness, for defamation as a result of his book attacking malpractice by private ‘anti-sect’ movements which were receiving public funds breached Article 10 ECHR (expression): the disputed statements were legitimate comment on matters of public interest and to be regarded as value judgments rather than statements of fact.

LEYLA ŞAHİN v TURKEY [2005] ECtHR (GC) 819 (No. 44774/98) (10 November 2005): the University of Istanbul’s restrictions on the wearing of Islamic headscarves and the measures taken to implement them had not breached the applicant’s rights under Article 9 ECHR (thought, conscience and religion) because they were justified in principle and proportionate to the aims pursued and, therefore, could be regarded as ‘necessary in a democratic society’: for earlier proceedings see LEYLA ŞAHİN v TURKEY - 44774/98 [2004] ECtHR 299 (No. 44774/98) (29 June 2004)

İ A v TURKEY [2005] ECtHR (No. 42571/98) (13 September 2005): the Second Section held by 4 to 3 that the conviction of a publisher under Article 175 of the Turkish Criminal Code outlawing blasphemy against “God, the Religion, the Prophet and the Holy Book” did not contravene his rights under Article 10 ECHR (freedom of expression), since some of the book in question constituted ‘offensive attacks on matters regarded as sacred by Muslims’ and the prosecution could therefore be regarded as having met a ‘pressing social need’: the book had not been seized, the fine imposed was ‘insignificant’, and the matter was within the margin of appreciation.

LARSN Case Database

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