The Grand Chamber considered executive interference in the appointment of the Chief Mufti of the Bulgarian Muslims: ‘Where the organisation of the religious community is at issue, Article 9 must be interpreted in the light of Article 11 of the Convention which safeguards associative life against unjustified State interference. Seen in this perspective, the believer’s right to freedom of religion encompasses the expectation that the community will be allowed to function peacefully free from arbitrary State intervention. Indeed, the autonomous existence of religious communities is indispensable for pluralism in a democratic society and is thus an issue at the very heart of the protection which Article 9 affords. It directly concerns not only the organisation of the community as such but also the effective enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion by all its active members’ The court ‘recalls that, but for very exceptional cases, the right to freedom of religion as guaranteed under Convention excludes any discretion on the part of the State to determine whether religious beliefs or the means used to express such beliefs are legitimate.’ Not every act which is in some way motivated or inspired by religious belief is to be regarded as the manifestation of religion.
The court considered the need for precision in the formulation of law and said: ‘For domestic law to meet these requirements [that is, of accessibility and foreseeability] it must afford a measure of legal protection against arbitrary interferences by public authorities with the rights safeguarded by the Convention. In matters affecting fundamental rights it would be contrary to the rule of law, one of the basic principles of a democratic society enshrined in the Convention, for a legal discretion granted to the executive to be expressed in terms of an unfettered power. Consequently, the law must indicate with sufficient clarity the scope of any such discretion conferred on the competent authorities and the manner of its exercise.
The level of precision required of domestic legislation – which cannot in any case provide for every eventuality – depends to a considerable degree on the content of the instrument in question, the field it is designed to cover and the number and status of those to whom it is addressed.’
30985/96, (2002) 34 EHRR 55,  ECHR 509, (2002) 34 EHRR 1339,  ECHR 511
Cited – Regina (Amicus etc) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Admn 26-Apr-2004
The claimants sought a declaration that part of the Regulations were invalid, and an infringement of their human rights. The Regulations sought to exempt church schools from an obligation not to discriminate against homosexual teachers.
Held: . .
Cited – Begum, Regina (on the Application of) v Denbigh High School Admn 15-Jun-2004
A schoolgirl complained that she had been excluded from school for wearing a form of attire which accorded with her Muslim beliefs.
Held: The school had made great efforts to establish what forms of wear were acceptable within the moslem . .
Cited – Regina 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. . .
Cited – SB, Regina (on the Application of) v Denbigh High School CA 2-Mar-2005
The applicant, a Muslim girl sought to be allowed to wear the gilbab to school. The school policy which had been approved by Muslim clerics prohibited this, saying the shalwar kameeze and headscarf were sufficient. The school said she was making a . .
Cited – The New Testament Church of God v Reverend Stewart CA 19-Oct-2007
The appellant appealed a finding that the respondent had been its employee, saying he was a minister of religion.
Held: The judge had been entitled to find an intention to create legal relations, and therefore that the claimant was an . .
Cited – Purdy, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions and Another QBD 29-Oct-2008
The applicant suffered mutiple sclerosis and considered that she might wish to go abroad to end her life. She asked the court to make more clear the guidance provided by the Director as to whether her partner might be prosecuted under section 2(1) . .
Cited – Purdy, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions and Another Admn 29-Oct-2008
The applicant said that the defendant had unlawfully failed to provide detailed guidance under section 10 of the 1985 Act, on the circumstances under which a prosecution might lie of a person performing acts which might assist another to commit . .
Cited – Marper v United Kingdom; S v United Kingdom ECHR 4-Dec-2008
(Grand Chamber) The applicants complained that on being arrested on suspicion of offences, samples of their DNA had been taken, but then despite being released without conviction, the samples had retained on the Police database.
Held: . .
Cited – Purdy, Regina (on the Application of) v Director of Public Prosecutions HL 30-Jul-2009
Need for Certainty in Scope of Offence
The appellant suffered a severe chronic illness and anticipated that she might want to go to Switzerland to commit suicide. She would need her husband to accompany her, and sought an order requiring the respondent to provide clear guidelines on the . .
Principal judgment – Hasan and Chaush v Bulgaria ECHR 2-Dec-2011
Cited – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v United Kingdom ECHR 4-Mar-2014
The claimant said that it had been wrongfully deprived of relief from business rates for its two temples. It asserted that it was a religion, and that the treatment was discriminatory. The government said that the refusal was on the basis alone that . .
Cited – Nicklinson and Another, Regina (on The Application of) SC 25-Jun-2014
Criminality of Assisting Suicide not Infringing
The court was asked: ‘whether the present state of the law of England and Wales relating to assisting suicide infringes the European Convention on Human Rights, and whether the code published by the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to . .
Cited – Kenward and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v The Director of Public Prosecutions and Another Admn 4-Dec-2015
The claimants challenged the policy issued by the DPP on assisted suicide following the Nicklinson case.
Held: The request for judicial review was refused.
Sir Brian Leveson P said: ‘It is important not to misunderstand the effect either . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Human Rights, Ecclesiastical
Updated: 04 June 2022; Ref: scu.165967