Vogt v Germany: ECHR 1 Nov 1995

The German courts construed a teacher’s duty of loyalty as absolute and owed equally by every civil servant, regardless of his or her function and rank under national law. Every civil servant, whatever his or her own opinion on the matter, must unambiguously renounce all groups and movements which the competent authorities hold to be inimical to the Constitution. It does not allow for distinctions between service and private life; the duty is always owed, in every context.
Held: The ban on civil servants’ involvement in politics was a breach of his basic freedoms.
The Grand Chamber said: ‘The Court’s task, in exercising its supervisory jurisdiction, is not to take the place of the competent national authorities but rather to review under Article 10 (art. 10) the decisions they delivered pursuant to their power of appreciation. This does not mean that the supervision is limited to ascertaining whether the respondent State exercised its discretion reasonably, carefully and in good faith; what the Court has to do is to look at the interference complained of in the light of the case as a whole and determine whether it was ‘proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued’ and whether the reasons adduced by the national authorities to justify it are ‘relevant and sufficient’ (see the Sunday Times v. the United Kingdom (no. 2) judgment of 26 November 1991, Series A no. 217, p. 29, para. 50). In so doing, the Court has to satisfy itself that the national authorities applied standards which were in conformity with the principles embodied in Article 10 (art. 10) and, moreover, that they based their decisions on an acceptable assessment of the relevant facts (see the above-mentioned Jersild judgment, p. 26, para. 31).’


Times 01-Nov-1995, 17851/91, [1995] 21 EHRR 205, [1995] ECHR 29, [1996] ECHR 34, [1996] ECHR 34, [1995] ECHR 29, [1996] ECHR 106, [1997] ECHR 206, [1993] ECHR 65


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Human Rights

Cited by:

CitedDe Freitas v The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Lands and Housing and others PC 30-Jun-1998
(Antigua and Barbuda) The applicant was employed as a civil servant. He joined a demonstration alleging corruption in a minister. It was alleged he had infringed his duties as a civil servant, and he replied that the constitution allowed him to . .
CitedPay v Lancashire Probation Service EAT 29-Oct-2003
The appellant challenged refusal of his claim for unfair dismissal. A probation officer, he had business interests in fire breathing and bondage merchandising which the service said were incompatible with his duties, and dismissed him. He complained . .
ApprovedAhmed And Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 2-Sep-1998
The restriction on local government officers and other against some political activities were not an infringement of their human rights and fell within the requirements for free expression and for free elections
‘The Court recalls that in its . .
CitedLord Carlile and Others v Secretary of State for The Home Department Admn 16-Mar-2012
The claimant had invited an Iranian dissident to speak in Parliament, and now challenged the decision of the Home Secretary to refuse her a visa on the basis that her exclusion was not conducive to the public good. She was a member of an . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Employment

Updated: 20 May 2022; Ref: scu.90190