Dismissal for opposition to same-sex adoption: Mr R Page

Is opposition on grounds of conscience to adoption by same-sex couples protected by equality legislation and the ECHR? That was the issue before the Tribunal in Mr R Page v NHS Trust Development Authority [2017] UKET 2302433/2016.

The background

At the time of his appointment as a Non-Executive Director of the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust, Mr Page was a lay magistrate. In July 2014, he had sat with two other magistrates as a family panel to consider an adoption application by a same-sex couple. The application was granted by the other two magistrates – a decision from which he dissented. The other magistrates and the clerk of the court complained about him following that case and he was subsequently reprimanded by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice: a statement was issued by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office dated 30 December 2014 in the following terms:

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“English Nationalism” as a protected belief? Mr S T Uncles

Is belief in “English Nationalism” a protected characteristic under the terms of s10 Equality Act 2010? Not in the opinion of the Employment Tribunal in Mr S T Uncles v NHS Commissioning Board and others [2017] UKET 1800958/2016.

Mr Uncles brought a series of complaints arising out of the termination of his agency work with the first respondent with effect from 6 May 2016, including unfair dismissal, breach of contract in relation to notice, unlawful deductions from pay and complaints of discrimination or harassment related to race, sex and philosophical belief. The claimant described himself as English, and the philosophical belief on which he relied was a belief in English nationalism [1]. It is the last of these that concerns us here. At the time of his dismissal, he was facing a prosecution for electoral fraud which he had not disclosed to his employers [118]. Continue reading

Gender, religious belief and discrimination in service provision

On Sunday, there were various media reports that a Southampton-based printer, Nigel Williams, had refused to produce business cards for Joanne Lockwood, a trans woman who works as a transgender diversity consultant; the reason stated for this refusal was that Mr Williams did not want to promote a cause that he felt might harm his fellow Christian believers.
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Another Romanian church property dispute: Orăştie

Yet another property dispute between the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church and the Romanian Orthodox Church.

In Orăştie Romanian Greek Catholic Archpriesthood United to Rome and Orăştie Romanian Greek Catholic Parish United to Rome v Romania [2017] ECHR 913 [in French], the applicants sought the restitution of their church, which had been expropriated by the Communist regime and handed over to the Orthodox in 1948. They were unsuccessful before the domestic courts [7-17], the High Court of Cassation and Justice noting that 90.71% of the population of Orăştie was Orthodox and 1.02% Greek-Catholic [16]. Continue reading

Conscientious objection again: Adyan v Armenia

In Adyan and Ors v Armenia [2017] ECHR 882, four Jehovah’s Witnesses had been convicted and imprisoned for refusing to perform either military or alternative civilian service.

Background

In May and June 2011 they were called up for military service but refused to appear either for military or for alternative civilian service under the terms of the Alternative Service Act, declaring their opposition based on their religious beliefs. Furthermore, even though domestic law provided for alternative service, they claimed that it was not of a genuinely civilian nature because it was supervised by the military. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 3rd September

A busy week on the blog, but nevertheless, a very mixed bag of issues…

…and whilst those concerning the Psychoactive Substances Act have become more important, they are of peripheral interest to L&RUK. We have also refrained from commenting on events surrounding  St. Sepulchre Without Newgate, Holborn (a.k.a. “the Musicians’ Church”), and likewise on yesterday’s story in the Daily TelegraphVictorian Society criticises evangelical group for keeping churches ‘shuttered and barred’“, which appears to escalate the situation.

Brexit documents

The Jack of Kent blog, written by the indefatigable David Allen Green, has posted an extremely helpful Brexit negotiations resource page, covering links and materials relevant to the current Brexit negotiations between the UK and the European Commission (on behalf of the EU) and restricted almost entirely to official documents. The links and materials are set out as follows: Continue reading

Religious slaughter – consultation on labelling scheme

Soon-to-close consultation by industry body

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the statutory levy board representing farmers and growers, is consulting on the introduction of a new Halal Quality Standard Mark for all sheepmeat; as part of this scheme, the AHDB is proposing a new labelling system to indicate the method of slaughter used. However, the labels are not intuitively obvious and the wording “stun/with pre-stunning” will not be used in the primary branding of either mark. Continue reading