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Case Database 2010

This list includes judgments delivered in 2010.

United Kingdom

MOORE v PRESIDENT OF THE METHODIST CONFERENCE [2010] UKEAT 0219 10 1503 (15 March 2011): where a Methodist minister brought proceedings for unfair dismissal  and the lower Tribunal had held that it was bound by President of the Methodist Conference v Parfitt [1984] ICR 176 to find that she was not an employee, the EAT concluded that, in the light of Percy v Board of National Mission of the Church of Scotland [2005] UKHL 73 the Tribunal had been wrong simply to follow Parfitt and that, on the facts, the claimant was employed under a contract of service: the ratio in Parfitt based on absence of intention to create legal relations was no longer good law because May LJ’s conclusion on the issue was based on what he saw as the peculiar position of a minister of religion and ‘… the spirit if not the letter of the reasoning in Percy means that such reasoning is illegitimate; and New Testament Church of God v Stewart [2007] EWCA Civ 1004 has since confirmed that a clergyman appointed to minister to a particular church or group of churches may be an employee’ [per Underhill P].

SHERGILL v PUREWAL & ANOR [2010] EWHC 3610 (QB) (15 December 2010): where the claimant alleged that three articles in the Panjab Times were defamatory in suggesting that he was ‘the follower of a cult and/or fake’ Sir Charles Gray stayed the action: the pleadings inevitably raised ‘… doctrinal issues relating to the Sikh religion and its traditions’ and it was impossible to circumvent ‘the insuperable obstacle placed in the way of a fair trial of the action by the fact that the court is bound to abstain from determining questions which lie at the heart of the case (para 35): HH SANT BABA JEET SINGH JI MAHARAJ v EASTERN MEDIA GROUP LIMITED AND HARDEEP SINGH [2010] EWHC (QB) 1294 (17 May 2010) followed.

R (AGUILAR QUILA) v SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT: R (BIBI) v SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT  [2010] EWCA Civ 1482 (21 December 2010): Rule 277 of the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, which prevented entry clearance to a party to a marriage where one spouse was a United Kingdom citizen and either party was under 21, was a disproportionate inhibition on family and private life and on the right to marry, contrary to Articles 8 and 12 ECHR.

OFFICIAL SOLICITOR TO THE SENIOR COURTS v YEMOH & ORS [2010] WLR (D) 334: where the deceased, who was domiciled in Ghana and owned real property in England, was believed to have been a party to at least six polygamous marriages contracted in accordance with Ghanaian customary law, it was held that the polygamous marriages were recognised for the purposes of intestate succession to his real estate and that the surviving wives together were ‘the spouse’ for the purposes of s 46 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925.

VARIOUS CLAIMANTS v THE CATHOLIC CHILD WELFARE SOCIETY & ORS [2010] EWCA Civ 1106 (26 October 2010): vicarious liability for alleged physical and/or sexual abuse by staff of a school (which closed in 1994) of which the Headmaster and some of the teachers were supplied by the De La Salle Institute lay with the ‘responsible organisations’ charged with managing the school during the period in question, the Middlesbrough Diocesan Rescue Society and its successor, the Catholic Child Welfare Society (Diocese of Middlesbrough), not with the De La Salle Institute.

SOUTHAMPTON CITY COUNCIL v SOUTHAMPTON MEDINA MOSQUE TRUST LIMITED [2010] EWHC 2376 (Ch)(5th October 2010):A local authority brought proceedings to identify the beneficial owners of a mosque. Against the arguments of some of the original trustees, the court found that resolutions passed at general meetings of an informally constituted and diffuse unincorporated association, consisting of any interested adult member of the local Muslim community, were effective to transfer beneficial ownership of a mosque from the Trust to a new charitable company.

RE THE DRUID NETWORK [2010] Ch Comm Decision (21 September 2010): in the case of the Druid Network the Charity Commission decided that its combination of belief in a supreme being, its rationale for connecting with ‘sacred nature’, its emphasis on the importance of ancestors, cultural heritage and the natural environment, and its common elements of worship and their integration into an ethical and moral system were a sufficient demonstration of an ‘identifiable positive, beneficial, moral or ethical framework’ to demonstrate that the Network was established for exclusively charitable purposes for the advancement of religion for the public benefit and should therefore be registered as a charity in England and Wales in accordance with section 3A(1) of the Charities Act 1993.

RAGGETT v SOCIETY OF JESUS TRUST OF 1929 FOR ROMAN CATHOLIC PURPOSES & ANOR [2010] EWCA Civ 1002 (27 August 2010): where the Governors of a school had accepted vicarious liability for the activities of a Jesuit schoolteacher alleged to have sexually abused a pupil and there was evidence of such abuse, it was a proper exercise of the discretion of the judge at first instance under s 33 of the Limitation Act 1980 to allow the action to proceed even though time barred; and to the extent that there was any prejudice in relation to the issue of causation it was likely to operate to the detriment of the claimant, since he had the burden of proving his loss. See also MAGA v TRUSTEES OF THE BIRMINGHAM ARCHDIOCESE OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH [2010] EWCA Civ 256 (16 March 2010).

CATHOLIC CARE (DIOCESE OF LEEDS) [2010] Ch Comm E & W final determination (21 July 2010, published 19 August 2010): the question as to whether or not Catholic Care (which refused as a matter of theological principle to provide adoption services to same-sex couples) should be permitted to change its objects so as to bring its activities within the exemption for charities in Regulation 18 of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 was remitted by the Chancery Division to the Charity Commission for reconsideration and a decision ‘directing itself in law in accordance with the principles set out in this judgment’; however, having reconsidered the matter the Commission refused consent to Catholic Care’s amending its charitable objects to restrict adoption services to heterosexual prospective parents only: see also CATHOLIC CARE (DIOCESE OF LEEDS) v CHARITY COMMISSION FOR ENGLAND AND WALES & ANOR [2010] EWHC 520 (Ch) (17 March 2010)

KINGS v BULTITUDE & ANOR [2010] EWHC 1795 (Ch) (15 July 2010): a gift by will to a religious group known as the Ancient Catholic Church had been made by the widow of the Church’s last Primate and she was herself its last minister: because the congregation had ceased to meet after the death of the testatrix the judge concluded that the Church no longer existed and that the gift in the will lapsed, but the remaining assets of the church were applicable cy-près.

JIVRAJ v HASHWANI (Rev 2) [2010] EWCA Civ 712 (22 June 2010): a clause in an arbitration agreement requiring the arbitrators to be Ismail was struck out by the Court of Appeal on the grounds that an arbitrator would fall within the extended definition of employment because he would be undertaking work personally under a contract; and given that, under the joint venture agreement to which the arbitration agreement related the arbitrator’s function was to determine the dispute between the parties in accordance with the principles of English law, it could not be a Genuine Occupational Requirement that the arbitrators should be members of the Ismaili community – however, the Court was not prepared to rewrite the arbitration clause in a way which complied with its reading of the Employee Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations and instead struck down the clause in its entirety, leaving the parties with the options of either agreeing to appoint a post hoc arbitration panel or of submitting their dispute to the ordinary English courts: see also JIVRAJ v HASHWANI [2009] EWHC (Comm) 1364 (26 June 2009).

HH SANT BABA JEET SINGH JI MAHARAJ v EASTERN MEDIA GROUP LIMITED AND HARDEEP SINGH [2010] EWHC (QB) 1294 (17 May 2010): an action for defamation was stayed by the High Court because of ‘the well-known principle of English law to the effect that the courts will not attempt to rule upon doctrinal issues or intervene in the regulation or governance of religious groups’.  The allegations that formed the alleged defamation could not be divorced from questions of Sikh doctrine and practice.

MCFARLANE v RELATE AVON LTD [2010] EWCA Civ B1 (29 April 2010): the court refused a petition for leave to appeal on grounds of wrongful dismissal by a Christian counsellor who had refused to offer psycho-sexual therapy to same-sex partners because he regarded same-sex sexual activity as sinful: more generally, in response to a witness statement by a former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, Laws LJ concluded that to give legal protection or preference to a particular moral position because it was faith-based would be ‘deeply unprincipled’, since to do so would give effect to subjective opinion; instead, ‘the State, if its people are to be free, has the burdensome duty of thinking for itself’. (para 24).

CHAPLIN v ROYAL DEVON & EXETER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST [2010] ET 1702886/2009 (21 April 2010): a nurse who refused on religious grounds to stop wearing a crucifix with her uniform contrary to the Trust’s health and safety policy and who, as a consequence, was redeployed as an Admissions and Discharge Coordinator (in which post she was not subject to the same restrictions) had not been subjected to direct or indirect discrimination contrary to the provisions of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003: see also EWEIDA v BRITISH AIRWAYS PLC [2010] EWCA Civ 80 (12 February 2010).

WHITE & ORS v WILLIAMS & ORS [2010] EWHC 940 (Ch) (05 April 2010): where a small denomination had split into two factions, in order not to frustrate the purposes of the original charitable gifts it was appropriate under the Charities Act 1993 ss 13 & 14B to direct a scheme cy-près for an equitable division of the property under which the denomination’s places of worship would be transferred to separate trustees whose role would be to ensure the fulfilment of purposes specific to the individual congregations.

CATHOLIC CARE (DIOCESE OF LEEDS) v CHARITY COMMISSION FOR ENGLAND AND WALES & ANOR [2010] EWHC 520 (Ch) (17 March 2010): the question as to whether or not Catholic Care (which refused to provide adoption services to same-sex couples) should be permitted to change its objects so as to bring its activities within the exemption for charities in Regulation 18 of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 (a change for which the Charity Tribunal had refused permission) should be remitted to the Charity Commission for a decision ‘directing itself in law in accordance with the principles set out in this judgment’.

MAGA v TRUSTEES OF THE BIRMINGHAM ARCHDIOCESE OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH [2010] EWCA Civ 256 (16 March 2010): where the Archdiocese had not adequately supervised the activities of a priest who had sexually abused a boy who was not an adherent of the Church, the Archdiocese was nevertheless vicariously liable for his activities even though it had reserved its position as to whether or not he was an employee.

EWEIDA v BRITISH AIRWAYS Plc [2010] EWCA Civ 80 (12 February 2010): refusing to allow a Christian employee to wear a visible cross with her uniform was not indirect discrimination contrary to the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003: inconvenience to a single individual did not constitute a disadvantage that ‘puts or would put persons of the same religion or belief as B at a particular disadvantage when compared with other persons’ for the purposes of the 2003 Regulations.

GHAI, R (on the application of) v NEWCASTLE CITY COUNCIL & ORS [2010] EWCA Civ 59 (10 February 2010): permitting observant Hindu to be cremated on a funeral-pyres would not necessarily contravene the existing cremation law forbidding cremations other than in licensed crematoria, since a Hindu cremation could take place within a structure provided that fire was used rather than electricity and sunlight could shine directly on the dead body.

MACDONALD v FREE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF SCOTLAND [2010] UKEATS/0034/09/BI (10 February 2010): MACDONALD, RE APPLICATION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW ScotCS CSOH 55 (28 April 2010) : because Free Presbyterian ministers, elders and deacons are office-holders rather than employees it was not possible for a minister to be unfairly dismissed: however, by pursuing his claim for wrongful dismissal in the employment tribunal and the EAT the petitioner had not forfeited the right to seek reduction by the Court of Session of decisions of the tribunals of the Church. [The petition for judicial review has been put out By Order to consider further procedure.]

KHAN v VIGNETTE EUROPE LTD [2010] UKEAT 0134/09/1401 (14 January 2010): the original tribunal was not in error in refusing an application by a Muslim claimant to adjourn the hearing on the ground that the sitting was during the month of Ramadan.


MILANOVIĆ v SERBIA [2010] ECtHR (No. 44614/07 2029) (14 December 2010): in the case of a leading member of the Hare Krishna community in Serbia who had received numerous threats and had been assaulted physically many times by non-state agents since 2001, the Court held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 3 ECHR (torture and inhuman treatment) and by 6 votes to 1 that there had also been a violation of Article 14 (discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 3: it was not necessary separately to examine the complaints under Articles 2 (right to life) and 13 (effective remedy).

HADEP & DEMIR v TURKEY [2010] ECtHR 2027 (No.28003/03) (14 December 2010): the dissolution by the Turkish authorities of the Halkın Demokrasi Partisi (People’s Democracy Party: HADEP), a political party established on 11 May 1994, violated Article 11 ECHR (freedom of assembly and association): it was not necessary further to examine complaints under  Articles 9 (thought, conscience and religion), 10 (expression) and 14 (discrimination), Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (property) and Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (free elections).

O' DONOGHUE & ORS v UNITED KINGDOM [2010] ECtHR (No. 34848/07) (14 December 2010) the Certificate of Approval Scheme under which, in order to marry, persons subject to immigration control had to have either entry clearance expressly granted for the purpose of enabling them to marry in the UK or a Certificate of Approval for which a fee was charged (but which did not apply to those seeking to marry in the Church of England) violated Article 12 ECHR (marriage): moreover, given that the applicants were all practising Roman Catholics,  though their complaint under Article 9 (thought, conscience and religion)  standing alone was ill-founded, their complaint under Article 14 (discrimination) read together with Article 9 was admissible and there had been a violation of those Convention rights.

A, B AND C v IRELAND [2010] ECtHR (GC) (No. 25579/05) (16 December 2010): the Grand Chamber held by eleven votes to six that in the case of the first two applicants the law on termination of pregnancy had not traversed their rights under Article 8 (private and family life) or under Article 13 (effective remedy) ECHR taken in conjunction with Article 8; however, in the case of the third applicant, a Lithuanian national resident in Ireland who was suffering from a rare form of cancer, the Court held unanimously that her rights under Article 8 had been violated since ‘the criminal provisions of the [Offences Against the Person Act 1861] … would constitute a significant chilling factor for both women and doctors in the medical consultation process, regardless of whether or not prosecutions have in fact been pursued under that Act. Both the third applicant and any doctor ran a risk of a serious criminal conviction and imprisonment in the event that a decision taken in medical consultation, that the woman was entitled to an abortion in Ireland given the risk to her life, was later found not to accord with Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution’.

SAVEZ CRKAVA RIJEČ ŽIVOTA & ORS v CROATIA [2010] ECtHR (No. 7798/08) (9 December 2010): the refusal to conclude agreements with various small Reformed Churches under which they could provide pastoral care and denominational education in public institutions and have their religious marriages recognised for civil purposes violated Article 14 ECHR (discrimination) in conjunction with Article 9 (thought, conscience and religion): the fact that certain other small Churches, such as the Bulgarian and Macedonian Orthodox Churches and the Croatian Old Catholic Church, were recognised even though they did not fulfil the Government’s own recognition criteria and the applicant Churches were not, breached the principle that in exercising regulatory powers governments were obliged to remain neutral as between different religions and denominations: Religionsgemeinschaft der Zeugen Jehovas & Ors v Austria [2008] ECtHR (No. 40825/98) (qv) applied.

EPARHIA MOLDOVEI DE EST A BISERICII ORTODOXE DIN UCRAINA & ORS v MOLDOVA (striking out) [2010] ECtHR (No. 2109) (7 December 2010): where a judgment of the Supreme Court of Justice of 21 February 2007 ordering the Moldovan Government to register the Moldovan Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church had not been finally enforced until October 2009 and the Agent for the Government of Moldova had admitted a breach of Articles 6, 9, 11 and 13 ECHR and offered €6,000 with a view to securing a friendly settlement, the Court saw no reason to justify continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine ECHR) and struck out the case.

JAKÓBSKI v POLAND [2010] ECtHR (No. 18429/06) (7 December 2010): failure to provide a Buddhist prisoner with meat-free meals in accordance with Mahayana Buddhist dietary rules violated his rights under Article 9 (thought, conscience and religion), particularly in light of the fact that the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers had advised when commenting on the European Prison Rules that prisoners should be provided with food that took into account their religious requirements.

PF & EF v UNITED KINGDOM [2010] ECtHR (No. 28326/09) (23 November 2010): the failure of the Northern Ireland police to prevent violent demonstrations against parents and pupils of a Roman Catholic primary school walking to and from the school through a Protestant area had not violated the applicants’ rights under Articles 3 (inhuman or degrading treatment) and 8 (private and family life) ECHR; the operational decisions complained of had been within legitimate police discretion and fully complied with the State’s positive obligations and the application was therefore inadmissible: see also E (A CHILD), RE [2008] UKHL 66 (12 November 2008).

ŞERİFE YİĞİT v TURKEY [2010] ECtHR 1672 (GC) (No. 3976/05) (2 November 2010): because there was no consistent practice across the Council of Europe it was within the margin of appreciation accorded to member states for Turkey to refuse to recognise for the purpose of survivor’s benefits a religious marriage simpliciter that had not been preceded by civil marriage: though the rules on pensions were clear, the applicant had made the choice to live in a religious marriage with her partner and they had done so peacefully as a family without interference or penalty, either administrative or criminal: there had therefore been no breach of Article 8 ECHR (private and family life).

ALEKSEYEV v RUSSIA [2010] ECtHR (Nos. 4916/07, 25924/08 and 14599/09) (21 October 2010): repeated bans on gay rights marches by the Mayor of Moscow on grounds of public order, the protection of health and morals and the fact that gay rights demonstrations were opposed by the three major religions and contrary to the moral values of the majority of citizens violated Article 11 ECHR (peaceful assembly): the applicant had also been denied an effective domestic remedy in violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 11 and discriminated against in violation of Article 14 in conjunction with Article 11.

CEVAHİRLİ v TURKEY [2010 ECtHR] (No. 15067/04) (19 October 2010): banning the applicant from Turkish Army facilities because he had insisted, despite a warning to the contrary, on performing his prayers in public had not breached his rights under Article 9 ECHR (thought, conscience and religion), though the refusal to disclose certain classified documents in relation to his appearance before the Supreme Military Administrative Court had violated his rights under Article 6 (fair hearing).

NUR RADYO VE TELEVIZYON YAYINCILIĞI AŞ v TURKEY [2010] ECtHR (No.42284/05) (12 October 2010) [French text only]: revoking the applicant broadcasting company’s licence because it persisted in broadcasting religious programmes whose content, in the authorities’ view, breached the constitutional principle of secularism violated Article 10 ECHR: (expression): the interference was not found to be ‘necessary in a democratic society’.

J McB v L E [2010] ECJ C400/10 (5 October 2010): the removal of a child by a parent to another member state is wrongful only if it is in breach of custody rights granted by national law and Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000, must be so interpreted: national legislation under which the acquisition of rights of custody by a father who is not married to the mother of the child is dependent on his obtaining a court judgment does not violate the right to respect for private and family life protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

ASSOCIATION LES TÉMOINS DE JÉHOVAH v FRANCE [2010] ECtHR (No. 8916/05) (29 September 2010): in an interim judgment the Court, though dismissing the applicant’s  claim under Article 14 ECHR (discrimination) in relation to tax penalties on the grounds of failure to exhaust domestic remedies, declared that the applicant’s allegation of infringement of Article 9 (thought, conscience and religion) admissible: it ‘raised complex issues of fact and law which could not be resolved at this stage ... but required examination on the merits’.

OBST v GERMANY [2010] ECtHR (No. 425/03) (23 September 2010) [French text only]: the dismissal by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of its Director of Public Relations for Europe on grounds of adultery had not breached Article 8 ECHR (private and family life) since the German labour courts had taken account of all the relevant factors and undertaken a careful and thorough balancing exercise regarding the interests involved and, having grown up in the Mormon Church, the claimant had been or should have been aware of the importance of marital fidelity for his employer and of the incompatibility of his extramarital relationship with his position in the Church.

SCHÜTH v GERMANY [2010] ECtHR (No. 1620/03) (23 September 2010) [French text only]: the dismissal by the Roman Catholic Church of a parish and deanery organist and choirmaster on the grounds that his functions were so closely connected to the proclamatory mission of the Church that the parish could not continue employing him without losing credibility had breached his rights under Article 8 ECHR (private and family life) : the labour courts had paid no regard to his de facto family life with his new partner or to the legal protection afforded it, and while Schüth had entered into a duty of loyalty towards the Catholic Church which limited his right to respect for his private life to a some degree, his signature on the contract could not be interpreted as an unequivocal commitment to celibacy in the event of separation or divorce.

HOLY SYNOD OF THE BULGARIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH (METROPOLITAN INOKENTIY) & ORS v BULGARIA [2010] ECtHR(Nos. 412/03 and 35677/04) (16 September 2010): in a reserved judgment on damages and costs, the Court concluded by six votes to one that the ‘alternative Synod’ headed by Metropolitan Inokentiy  had no separate proprietary interest in the buildings or other assets that were the property of its adherent parishes or of the Orthodox Church; however, the Government had interfered with the free choice of the Church’s leadership and the Court awarded the applicant organisation €50,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage: see also HOLY SYNOD OF THE BULGARIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH (METROPOLITAN INOKENTIY) & ORS v BULGARIA [2009] ECtHR(Nos. 412/03 & 35677/04) (22 January 2009).

EPISCOPIA DE EDINEŢ ŞI BRICENI v MOLDOVA (striking out) [2010] ECtHR (No.1390) (7 September 2010) where an ostensibly final court decision that the applicant Church had the right ‘to produce and to sell objects used in officiating religious services’ had been subsequently quashed by means of an extraordinary appeal in cassation, the Agent for the Government of Moldova conceded that that decision had violated Article 9 (fair hearing) and Article 1 of Protocol 1 (property) ECHR: in view of the offer of €81,000 as a friendly settlement the Court saw no reason to justify continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine ECHR) and struck out the case.

GREEN & FARHAT v MALTA [2010] ECHR (No. 1223) (6 July 2010): the refusal of the Maltese authorities to recognise for the purposes of immigration the annulment of Ms Green’s first marriage after her conversion to Islam and the validity of her subsequent marriage to Mr Farhat (both under Libyan law) was within the margin of appreciation accorded member states: neither Article 8 (private and family life) ECHR nor Article 8 taken in conjunction with Article 14 (discrimination) had been violated.

DIMITRAS & ORS v GREECE [2010] ECtHR (Applications Nos. 42837/06, 3269/07, 35793/07 and 6099/08) (3 June 2010) [French text only]: requiring defendants and witnesses in criminal proceedings to reveal their religious convictions in order to be allowed to make a solemn declaration instead of taking the oath violated their rights under Article 9 ECHR

GINEITIENĖ v LITHUANIA [2010] ECtHR: in awarding custody of two young girls to their father, the domestic courts had not discriminated against their mother (who was a member of an unregistered ‘new religious movement’): though an application under Articles 8 (private and family life) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination) ECHR was admissible it was rejected on the facts, while an application under Article 9 (thought, conscience and religion) was judged inadmissible.

SCHALK AND KOPF v AUSTRIA [2010] ECtHR (Application No. 30141/04) (24 June 2010): given that there was no consensus among Council of Europe member states about same-sex marriage and that the Article of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union granting the right to marry left the decision on same-sex marriage to member states, Article 12 ECHR did not oblige the Austrian Government to implement same-sex marriage, nor could such an obligation be derived from Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 8; moreover, where an alternative means of legal recognition for same-sex couples was implemented it did not have to correspond to marriage in every respect.

GRZELAK v POLAND [2010] ECtHR (No. 7710/02) (15 June 2010): failure to provide a primary-school child with a course in ethics as an alternative to religious education classes breached his rights under Articles 14 (discrimination) and 9 (thought, conscience and religion) ECHR.

FENER RUM PATRIKLIĞI (ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE) v TURKEY [2008] ECtHR (No. 14340/05) (8 July 2008) [French text only]; [2010] ECtHR (No. 14340/05) (15 June 2010) [French text only]: the Turkish authorities were not entitled to deprive the Ecumenical Patriarchate of its property, a boys’ orphanage, without appropriate compensation: to do so was in breach of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 ECHR (property)

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES OF MOSCOW v RUSSIA [2010] ECtHR (No. 302/02) (10 June 2010): repeated delays and refusals to register the applicants under the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations 1997 violated their rights under Article 11 ECHR (peaceful assembly and association) read in the light of Article 9 (thought, conscience and religion), while the excessive length of the proceedings against them had also violated Article 6 § 1 (fair hearing).

SPAMPINATO v ITALY [2010] ECHR 644 (No. 23123/04) (29 April 2010): the tax law provision under which 0.8 per cent of income tax was allocated to one of the religious bodies that had entered an agreement (intesa) governing relations with the state (or, in default, to the state itself) was within the margin of appreciation of national authorities, since such decisions would commonly involve political, economic and social questions which the ECHR left within the competence of the states parties – the more so in the area of religion because there was no common European standard governing the financing of churches.

LE PEN v FRANCE [2010] ECtHR (No. 18788/09) (20 April 2010) [French text only]: though it had interfered with his rights under Article 10 ECHR (expression), the fine imposed on the applicant, President of the French National Front, for incitement to racial, ethnic or religious hatred on account of statements about Muslims in France in an interview with Le Monde had been prescribed by law and pursued the legitimate aim of protecting the reputation or rights of others: though the Court attached the highest importance to freedom of political debate in a democratic society – which applied equally to ideas that offended, shocked or disturbed – it unanimously declared the application inadmissible.

KOZAK v POLAND [2010] ECtHR (No. 13102/02 280) (2 March 2010): a blanket refusal to allow surviving same-sex partners to succeed to social housing tenancies on the grounds that only a relationship between a woman and a man could constitute de facto marital cohabitation violated Article 14 (discrimination) ECHR in conjunction with Article 8 (private and family life).

AHMET ARSLAN & ORS v TURKEY [2010] ECtHR (No. 41135/98) (23 February 2010) [French text only]: the conviction of members of a Muslim religious group for wearing their distinctive religious headgear and dress in public other than for religious ceremonies had not pursued the legitimate aim of protecting public safety and preventing disorder and had therefore violated Article 9 ECHR (thought, conscience and religion).

SINAN IŞIK v TURKEY [2010] ECtHR (No. 21924/05) (2 February 2010) [French text only]: the requirement to disclose one’s religion in relation to civil registers and identity cards violated Article 9 ECHR (thought, conscience and religion).

SÂMBATA BIHOR GREEK CATHOLIC PARISH v ROMANIA [2010] ECtHR (No. 48107/99) (12 January 2010) [French text only]: when the Greek Catholic Church was dissolved in 1948 its property was transferred to the Orthodox Church and after it was granted recognition in 1990, Legislative Decree no. 126/1990 set up joint Greek Catholic/Orthodox committees to resolve property disputes: an application by the Greek Catholic parish for an order requiring the Orthodox to let it hold services in its former church was refused on the ground that the Legislative Decree had placed religious property disputes under the exclusive jurisdiction of the joint committees and not of the courts: therefore, the applicant parish had not enjoyed effective access to a court, in breach of Article 6 ECHR (fair hearing), and had been treated differently from other parishes involved in similar disputes without any objective and reasonable justification, in violation of Article 14 (discrimination) in conjunction with Article 6 § 1.

BUTAN v ROMANIA [2010] ECtHR (No. 34644/02) (5 January 2010) [French text only]: the Court declared inadmissible a complaint under Article 14 ECHR (discrimination) in conjunction with Article 9 (thought, conscience and religion) that the Romanian authorities had refused to register the applicant as a conscientious objector on moral grounds to military service because, under domestic law, objector status was open only to those invoking religious belief: the matter was within the  margin of appreciation accorded to member states: [compulsory peacetime military service ended in Romania in October 2006].

LARSN Case Database

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