Arrowsmith v United Kingdom: ECHR 12 Oct 1978

(Commission) Article 9 is apt to include a belief such as pacifism, which could be a philosophy. However, Miss Arrowsmith distributed leaflets to soldiers, urging them to decline service in Northern Ireland. This was dictated by her pacifist views. But the contents of the leaflets did not express pacifist views, nor did the act of distributing the leaflets do so. She was not thereby manifesting her pacifism.
The term ‘practice’ as employed in Article 9(1) does not cover each act which is motivated and influenced by a religion or belief’. It added: ‘It is true that public declarations proclaiming generally the idea of pacifism and urging the acceptance of a commitment to non-violence may be considered as a normal and recognised manifestation of pacifist belief. However, when the actions of individuals do not actually express the belief concerned they cannot be considered to be as such protected by Article 9 (1), even when they are motivated or influenced by it’.


(1978) 3 EHRR 218, 7050/75, [1978] ECHR 7




European Convention on Human Rights 9


Human Rights


Appeal fromRegina v Arrowsmith 1975
The defendant was charged with endeavouring to seduce a member of Her Majesty’s forces from his duty or allegiance to Her Majesty.
Held: A soldier owes allegiance to the Crown, whether he has taken the oath of allegiance or not. . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Education and Employment and others ex parte Williamson and others HL 24-Feb-2005
The appellants were teachers in Christian schools who said that the blanket ban on corporal punishment interfered with their religious freedom. They saw moderate physical discipline as an essential part of educating children in a Christian manner. . .
CitedBoughton, Regina (on the Application Of) v Her Majesty’s Treasury Admn 25-Jul-2005
The applicants sought to control the sums they paid by way of taxation so as not to contribute to non peaceful objects.
Held: Both English law and human rights jurisprudence would prevent the claim, and the application for a review failed. . .
CitedCore Issues Trust v Transport for London Admn 22-Mar-2013
The claimant sought judicial review of the decision made by TfL not to allow an advertisement on behalf of the Trust to appear on the outside of its buses. It was to read: ‘NOT GAY! EX-GAY, POST-GAY AND PROUD. GET OVER IT!’. The decision was said to . .
CitedGrainger Plc and Others v Nicholson EAT 3-Nov-2009
A belief in man-made climate change, and the alleged resulting moral imperatives, is capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights

Updated: 29 June 2022; Ref: scu.223022