Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu

Law and Religion Scholars Network

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

Case Database 2015

This list includes significant judgments delivered in 2014.

United Kingdom

SHARPE v BISHOP OF WORCESTER [2015] EWCA Civ 399 (30 April 2015): A Church of England incumbent with freehold tenure was not an employee for purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996: however, employment status could not be determined simply by discerning whether a minister of religion was an office holder or in employment: there was no presumption against contractual intent and the spiritual nature of ministry did not preclude the existence of a contract of employment [67].

ERLAM & ORS v RAHMAN & ANOR [2015] EWHC 1215 (QB) (23 April 2015): a letter in Bengali signed by 101 imams and other religious leaders and published in the local Bengali newspaper urging the Bangladeshi community to vote for Mr Rahman in the Tower Hamlets mayoral election was part of a campaign to persuade electors that “it was the religious duty of faithful Muslims to vote for him” [560]: the letter had constituted the exercise of “undue influence” threatening “spiritual injury” contrary to s 115(2)(a) Representation of the People Act 1983. The result of the election was set aside and Mr Rahman barred from standing in the re-run.

GENERAL MUNICIPAL AND BOILERMAKERS UNION v HENDERSON (UNFAIR DISMISSAL) [2015] UKEAT 0073 14 1303 (13 March 2015): though the appeal alleging unlawful indirect discrimination and harassment on grounds of the claimant’s political views was dismissed, the extent to which political beliefs attract the protection of s 10 Equality Act 2010 remains an open question: the conclusion of the lower tribunal that “left-wing democratic socialism is a protected belief for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 [was] not challenged on this appeal” [per Simler J at 62]: see also GRAINGER PLC & ORS v NICHOLSON [2009] UKEAT 0219 090 311 and MAISTRY v BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION [2011] ET 1313142/2010.

WASTENEY v EAST LONDON NHS FOUNDATION TRUST [2015] ET 3200658/2014 (27 February 2015): an occupational therapist who had been disciplined by her employer for praying with EN, a Muslim colleague of Pakistani heritage, giving her a book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity and inviting her to church events had not been discriminated against, contrary to Equality Act 2010; nor had she been harassed on account of her Christian beliefs: claim dismissed.

GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE NEW CHURCH v BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL [2015] UKFTT CR 2014 0013 (GRC) (16 February 2015): an attempt to register the redundant church building and land of the Bristol Society of the New Church as a  ‘community asset’ under S 88(1) and (2) (Land of community value) Localism Act 2011 was unsuccessful: the expression ‘social wellbeing and social interests of the community’ in s 88 ‘did not encompass religious observances in a church, mosque or synagogue etc’ and such buildings would not in practice fall within s 88 unless they had some other non-ancillary use that did further the social wellbeing or interests of the community: wider concerns about over-development and environmental protection were matters of development control outside the scope of the community asset legislation.

IN THE PETITION OF THE CHRISTIAN INSTITUTE & ORS FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW OF THE CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE (SCOTLAND) ACT 2014 [2015] ScotCS CSOH 7 (22 January 2015): the ‘named person’ provisions in Part 4 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (which would assign a named person in health or education to every child and young person of school age or below, from conception, to make sure that he or she had the correct support for development and wellbeing) were not contrary to Articles 8 (private and family life) & 9 & Article 2 of Protocol 1 (education) ECHR and were therefore within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

B and G (CHILDREN) (No 2) [2015] EWFC 3 (14 January 2015): in the course of care proceedings related to two children of a Muslim family – a boy born in 2010 and a girl born in 2011 –  the differences between female genital mutilation (FGM) and non-therapeutic male circumcision carried out for religious or socio-cultural reasons were distinguished as follows: ‘Whereas it can never be reasonable parenting to inflict any form of FGM on a child, the position is quite different with male circumcision. Society and the law, including family law, are prepared to tolerate non-therapeutic male circumcision performed for religious or even for purely cultural or conventional reasons, while no longer being willing to tolerate FGM in any of its forms … FGM has no basis in any religion; male circumcision is often performed for religious reasons. FGM has no medical justification and confers no health benefits; male circumcision is seen by some (although opinions are divided) as providing hygienic or prophylactic benefits … 'reasonable' parenting is treated as permitting male circumcision’ [72] (per Sir James Munby P).


WH v SWEDEN(striking out) [2015] ECHR 361 (8 April 2015): the Fifth Section ECtHR had concluded unanimously that the circumstances of the applicant, a single Mandaean woman whose asylum application had been rejected, "... would not prevent her from settling safely and reasonably in the Kurdistan Region" if returned to Iraq. Subsequently however, on 15 October 2014, the Migration Board concluded that the prevailing security situation in Baghdad, coupled with the applicant's minority religious allegiance, was sufficient reason to grant her a permanent residence permit. In the circumstances, the Swedish Government asserted that the case should be struck out because the applicant no longer faced the risk of expulsion to Iraq and could no longer claim to be a victim, while she herself stated that she had no objection. The GC struck out the case: there were no special circumstances that warranted its continued examination.

KARAAHMED v BULGARIA [2015] ECHR 217 (24 February 2015): investigations into a violent demonstration outside the mosque in Sofia had not been completed nearly four years on and no charges had been preferred: the authorities had failed to strike a proper balance between ensuring the effective and peaceful exercise of the demonstrators’ rights and the rights of the applicant and other worshippers to pray together and had therefore violated Article 9 ECHR.

DIMITROVA v BULGARIA [2015] ECHR 152 (10 February 2015): Ms Dimitrova was a member of Word of Life (an international religious organisation based in Uppsala) which had restrictions imposed on it by the authorities in Sofia on the grounds that it was a “sect” with a harmful influence on its followers: Ms Dimitrova’s subsequent treatment for holding meetings of the movement in her home had violated her rights under of Article 9 and Article 13 (effective remedy) taken together with Article 9: it was unnecessary to examine her complaints under Articles 8 (private and family life) and 11 (assembly).

LARSN Case Database

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