McClintock v Department of Constitutional Affairs: EAT 31 Oct 2007

The claimant had resigned as a magistrate after a refusal of his requirement that he not be asked to sit on adoption applications involving same sex couples.
Held: The request was an abdication of the duties of a magistrate, and his claim failed.
EAT Religion or belief
The appellant was a Justice of the Peace. He sat on the Family Panel which, inter alia, places children for adoption. He objected to the possibility that he might be required to place a child with a same sex couple. The reason he gave was that he considered that there was insufficient evidence that this was in the child’s best interests and he felt that children should not be treated like guinea pigs in the name of politically correct legislation.
He asked to be relieved from hearing cases which might raise these issues. Representatives of the respondent refused to allow this and he resigned from the Family Panel. He complained that this was both direct and indirect discrimination and harassment, contrary to the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.
The Tribunal found that on the facts there was no unlawful conduct of any kind. He had not indicated that his objections were rooted in any religious or philosophical belief. There was in fact no direct or indirect discrimination for religious or philosophical reasons, nor any evidence of harassment. Even if there were a criterion adversely impacting on the appellant, the respondent was justified in requiring him to carry out the full duties of the office in accordance with his judicial oath.
The EAT rejected the appeal. The case was dismissed largely on the facts, but in addition the Tribunal was fully entitled to find that any indirect discrimination was justified.


Elias J, P


[2007] UKEAT 0223 – 07 – 3110, Times 05-Dec-2007, [2008] IRLR 29




Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedMcFarlane v Relate Avon Ltd EAT 30-Nov-2009
UNFAIR DISMISSAL – Reason for dismissal
Christian counsellor dismissed by Relate for failing to give an unequivocal commitment to counsel same-sex couples.
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.

Employment, Discrimination

Updated: 12 July 2022; Ref: scu.261546