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European Court Judgement rejects appeals on breach of religious beliefs


Lawson-West Solicitors - Expert Author

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13 June 2013

Judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) have rejected appeals lodged by three British Christians who originally lost their cases before the Court in January of this year when they argued that their individual rights to express religious beliefs had been breached.

In the first instance, that of Shirley Chaplin, the appeal judges ruled that her employers were justified in forbidding her to wear a crucifix at work on health and safety grounds since she is a nurse.

In the cases of Lillian Ladele and Gary McFarlane, the Court’s decision depended upon weighing up their rights against the rights of others. Ladele, who worked as a registrar, had refused to conduct a civil partnership ceremony on the grounds of ‘freedom of thought, conscience and religion’. Likewise, McFarlane said he did not want to undertake sex therapy sessions with same-sex couples on the same grounds.

In both cases, the appeal judges ruled that they had breached the ‘convention rights’ (rights under the European Convention on Human Rights) of the civil partnership and sex therapy couples, namely the ‘prohibition on discrimination’ and the ‘right to respect for private and family life.’

Employment Partner at Lawson-West Ashley Hunt commented: “What we are seeing here is a conflict between different convention rights, with the result that one set of rights – in this case religious freedom – does not have more weight than another.”

About the Author

Lawson-West specialise in commercial, business and employment law. Our team of dedicated commercial solicitors can help with buying or selling a business, business law and disputes, landlord and tenant issues and commercial property. Our expert employment team can offer practical advice and guidance on all aspects of employment law including redundancy, compromise agreements and dismissal procedures. Visit for more information.

If you’d like information on your rights at work please contact employment law specialists Ashley Hunt, Vaishali Thakerar, Carrie-Ann Randall or Vanessa Crookes on 0116 212 1000.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-06-14 11:10:22 in Legal Articles

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