The Christian Institute and Others, Re Application for Judicial Review: QBNI 11 Sep 2007

The Claimants opposed the Regulations which prohibited discrimination or harassment on grounds of sexual orientation on the grounds inter alia that they offended orthodox Christian beliefs and violated rights under the ECHR.
Held: The outlawing of harassment in the case of sexual orientation may well involve interference with the freedom to manifest a religious belief. On the facts, the teaching or maintaining that homosexuality was sinful, was engaged and overlapped with the right to free expression under art.10. An assessment of the balance of interests required close consideration of issues such as the actions of the parties, the measures in question, the value of the policy promoted and the right diminished. Individual issues when raised should be decided by the County Court on a case-by-case basis.
Weatherup J said: ‘In general the applicants contend that the Regulations have the effect that the protection afforded to sexual orientation in accordance with the right to respect for private life under Article 8 and Article 14 of the Convention outweighs the protection afforded to the manifestation of religious belief under Article 9 and 14 of the European Convention so that there is a lack of fair balance between the respective rights.
On the other hand the respondent contends that this Court should not undertake an examination of the Regulations in the abstract as civil liability . . will be fact specific and should be determined on a case by case basis . . in the County Court.’ Interference with the Applicants’ rights and justification for it and the balance of interests in play required the close multi-factorial consideration for which the Respondent argued.’

Weatherup J
[2007] NIQB 66, [2008] IRLR 36
Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006, European Convention on Human Rights 8 9 14
Northern Ireland
Cited by:
CitedHall and Another v Bull and Another Misc 4-Jan-2011
(Bristol County Court) The claimants, homosexual partners in a civil partnership, sought damages after being refused a stay at the bed and breakfast hotel operated by the defendants, who said that this was their home, and that they were committed . .
CitedBull and Bull v Hall and Preddy CA 10-Feb-2012
The appellants owned a guesthouse. They appealed from being found in breach of the Regulations. They had declined to honour a booking by the respondents of a room upon learning that they were a homosexual couple. The appellants had said that they . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Northern Ireland, Discrimination

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.261743