Discrimination against Alevis – just satisfaction

In December 2014 we noted Cumhuriyetçi Eğitim ve Kültür Merkezi Vakfi v Turkey [2014] ECHR 1346 [in French], in which the applicant Foundation for Republican Instruction and Culture, which was established as a non-profit entity to manage a number of Alevi places of worship [cemevis], complained about the refusal of the Directorate of Religious Affairs to pay its electricity bills [7]. The Directorate’s grounds for refusal had been that the mechanism for paying the bills was intended to benefit places of worship and cemevis could not be places of worship because there was no such religion as Alevism, historically or scientifically [il n’existe pas de religion appelée « la religion alévie », ni sur le plan historique ni sur le plan scientifique]. The Foundation argued that being deprived of the privilege of free electricity was discrimination, contrary to Article 14 ECHR taken together with Article 9 and contrary to Article 9 on its own. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 18th June

And in a week overshadowed by the horrendous fire at Grenfell Tower and the fallout from the General Election …

Access for Northern Ireland women to free abortion in England

On Thursday we posted Frank’s analysis of R (A and B) v Secretary of State for Health [2017] UKSC 41 in which the Supreme Court considered:

  • Was the Secretary of State ‘s failure to exercise his power to require abortion services to be provided through the NHS in England to women ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland unlawful as a failure to discharge his duty under s 3 of the National Health Service Act 2006 to “take such steps as he considers necessary to meet all reasonable requirements” for services?
  • Does the continuing failure to provide free abortion services in England to women ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland infringe Articles 14 (discrimination) and 8 (private and family life) ECHR?

The appeal was dismissed by a 3-2 majority, and we suggested that it is quite possible that the case is bound for Strasbourg. Continue reading

Yet another registration case: Metodiev & Ors v Bulgaria

Background

In February 2007 some of the applicants, Ahmadi Muslims, decided to set up a new religious association, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, to be based in Sandanski: the others joined them subsequently. The first applicant, Mr Metodiev, applied to the district court of Sofia to register the new association under the Religions Act and the court sought the opinion of the Department for Religious Affairs – and denied the application. Continue reading

Humanist wedding in Northern Ireland – temporary authorisation granted

In Re an application by Laura Smyth for Judicial Review, Colton J has quashed the General Register Office’s decision to refuse an application for authorisation for a humanist marriage in Northern Ireland on the grounds that the refusal breached the applicant’s ECHR rights. He ordered the GRO to grant the application, which would give temporary authorisation for a humanist celebrant to perform a legally valid and binding humanist wedding ceremony. Continue reading

Another registration case: National Turkish Union v Bulgaria

In National Turkish Union v Bulgaria [2017] ECHR (No. 4776/08) [French only], the National Turkish Union and its founder and president, Menderes Mehmet Kungyun, complained successfully that the Bulgarian authorities’ refusal to register the Union was a breach of Article 11 ECHR.

Background

In 2006 Mr Kungyun announced his intention to form an association dedicated to promoting the rights of the Muslim minority in Bulgaria. Following his announcement, several hostile press articles criticised the Union’s aims, claiming variously that Mr Kungyun wanted to create an ethnic Turkish party and that he was receiving funding from secret services abroad.
Continue reading

Does an employer discriminate by behaving inconsistently with religious values? – Keens-Betts

Can an employee claim direct or indirect discrimination on grounds of religion because she feels that her employer’s behaviour is inconsistent with what she understands to be “the Christian way of life”? That was one of the issues raised in Miss M Keens-Betts v The Anthony Gregg Partnership Ltd [2017] UKET 2208102/2016.

Miss Keens-Betts, a litigant in person, did not assert that she was treated any differently or worse than a non-Christian or non-religious person would have been treated. What she argued was that her employers’ poor behaviour was of itself inconsistent with religious values and that, because her employer knew of her religious values, she was particularly vulnerable to bullying because she felt obliged to “turn the other cheek” [14]. In her words: Continue reading

Ashers Baking refuses order for gay engagement cake

Ashers Baking is in the news again: the Belfast Telegraph reports that Ashers has refused to make an engagement cake with a same-sex marriage slogan. Grainne McCann ordered the cake to celebrate the engagement of her friends Joe Palmer and Andy Wong and paid for it online, only to have her order rejected the next day. Continue reading