The Holy Monasteries v Greece: ECHR 9 Dec 1994

Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Preliminary objection rejected (ratione personae); Preliminary objection rejected (non-exhaustion); No violation of P1-1; Violation of Art. 6-1; No violation of Art. 9; No violation of Art. 11; No violation of Art. 13; No violation of Art. 14+6; No violation of Art. 14+9; No violation of Art. 14+11; No violation of Art. 14+P1-1; Pecuniary damage – reserved; Costs and expenses award – Convention proceedings
The Government of Greece argued that the applicant monasteries, which were challenging legislation which provided for the transfer of a large part of the monastic property to the Greek State, were not non-governmental organisations within the meaning of article 25 (now 34) of the Convention. It was pointed out that the monasteries were hierarchically integrated into the organic structure of the Greek Orthodox Church, that legal personality was attributed to the Church and its constituent parts in public law and that the Church and its institutions, which played a direct and active part in public administration, took administrative decisions whose lawfulness was subject to judicial review by the Supreme Administrative court like those of any other public authority. Rejecting this argument, the court said ‘Like the Commission in its admissibility decision, the Court notes at the outset that the applicant monasteries do not exercise governmental powers. Section 39(1) of the Charter of the Greek Church describes the monasteries as ascetic religious institutions. Their objectives – essentially ecclesiastical and spiritual ones, but also cultural and social ones in some cases – are not such as to enable them to be classed with governmental organisations established for public administration purposes. From the classification as public law entities it may be inferred only that the legislature – on account of the special links between the monasteries and the State – wished to afford them the same legal protection vis-a-vis third parties as was accorded to other public law entities. Furthermore, the monastery councils’ only power consists in making rules concerning the organisation and furtherance of spiritual life and the internal administration of each monastery.’

13092/87, 13984/88, (1995) 20 EHRR 1, [1994] ECHR 49, [1997] ECHR 53
Worldlii, Worldlii
Human Rights
Cited by:
CitedParochial Church Council of the Parish of Aston Cantlow and Wilmcote with Billesley, Warwickshire v Wallbank and another HL 26-Jun-2003
Parish Councils are Hybrid Public Authorities
The owners of glebe land were called upon as lay rectors to contribute to the cost of repairs to the local church. They argued that the claim was unlawful by section 6 of the 1998 Act as an act by a public authority incompatible with a Convention . .
CitedFrame v Grampian University Hospitals NHS Trust HCJ 14-Feb-2004
The defendant NHS trust objected as to the leading of certain evidence by the prosecutor, saying it infringed the right to a fair trial.
Held: As a governmental body rather the Trust could not have human rights capable of being infringed, it . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights

Updated: 03 January 2022; Ref: scu.165346