Sharia and inheritance in Western Thrace: Molla Sali

In Molla Sali v Greece (No. 20452/14) (which we noted briefly in April 2015) the applicant, Ms Chatitze Molla Sali, is a Greek national born in 1950 who lives in Komotini in Western Thrace. On the death of her husband, she inherited his entire estate under the terms of a will drawn up by him before a notary. His two sisters contested the will, on the grounds that their brother had belonged to the Muslim minority community in Western Thrace and that all matters relating to his estate were therefore subject to Islamic law and to the jurisdiction of the mufti rather than to the provisions of the Greek Civil Code. They relied in particular on the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres and the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which provided for Islamic customs and Islamic religious law to be applied to Greek nationals who were Muslims. Continue reading

“Cohabitation, cohabitation, cohabitation”: Smith

The rights of cohabiting couples – or the lack of them – have been in the news for the last week or so. In her recent Times interview (£), as well as calling for no-fault divorce in England and Wales Lady Hale voiced support for new legal rights for unmarried couples. The number of unmarried couples living together has more than doubled in recent years, from 1.5 million in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2017; and on Monday, Resolution, formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association, published the results of a ComRes survey which found that:  Continue reading

Opposite-sex partnerships and the ECHR: Ratzenböck and Seydl

Background

In Ratzenböck and Seydl v Austria [2017] ECHR 947, the applicants, Helga Ratzenböck and Martin Seydl, complained that, as a heterosexual couple, they were denied access to a registered partnership, a legal institution only available to same-sex couples.

In February 2010, they had lodged an application to become registered partners under the Registered Partnership Act 2009 [Eingetragene Partnerschaft-Gesetz] but the Mayor of Linz had refused their application because the registered partnership was reserved for same-sex couples only; and their appeal, alleging discrimination based on their sex and sexual orientation, was dismissed by the Upper Austrian Regional Governor. Continue reading

“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

Law and religion round-up – 22nd October

A week in which the main theme seemed to be discrimination on grounds of gender or sexual orientation

Church of England to debate blessings for same-sex couples?

Last week, as we noted, the Hereford Diocesan Synod passed a resolution requesting the House of Bishops to initiate the formulation of a discretionary liturgy for use following the registration of a civil partnership or a same-sex marriage. The BBC subsequently reported this under the headline Church of England to discuss same-sex blessing, stating that “The general synod will now debate a form of service described as ‘neither contrary to nor a departure from’ the doctrine of the church”. Continue reading

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