Law and religion round-up – 19th March

A week dominated by Brexit, ‘First Minister vs Prime Minister’ and the fall-out from the first judgments of the CJEU on religious manifestation… 

Brexit

As expected, on Monday the Commons rejected the Lords amendments to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, the Lords did not insist on their amendments and the bill passed. So after a total of 70 hours of debate, the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent on Thursday. The BBC reports that the Prime Minister is expected to wait until the end of the month formally to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave.

Meanwhile in Scotland… Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 26th February

Opposite-sex civil partnerships, RE, funny handshakes – and some of the media still don’t understand the difference between Brussels and Strasbourg…

Opposite-sex civil partnerships? Not yet

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan lost their appeal against the Administrative Court’s refusal to review the Government’s policy on the extension of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples: see Steinfeld & Anor v Secretary of State for Education [2017] EWCA Civ 81: we noted the decision here. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 5th February

Brexit yet again, child abuse, abortion, deposition from Orders – the usual mix…

Brexit yet again

On Friday, the Administrative Court threw out the latest Brexit challenge by a group led by Peter Wilding and Adrian Yalland. They argued that, under the terms of Article 127 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, Parliament should give separate approval to the UK’s exit from the EEA.

Lloyd-Jones LJ and Lewis J concluded that the Government had not made a decision “as to the mechanism by which the EEA agreement would cease to apply within the UK”. As a result, it was not clear at this stage what issues, if any, would fall within the jurisdiction of the courts. All we have at the moment is press reports: we’ll be interested to see the written judgment.

‘EU Withdrawal Bill’ – Second Reading and White Paper Continue reading

Conscientious objection again: Savda v Turkey

On 1 August 2006 five members of the Anti-Militarist Platform met in front of the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul in support of Israeli conscientious objectors. In the course of the gathering, Mr Savda read out a press statement entitled “We are in solidarity with the Israeli conscientious objectors”. He was arrested and charged and in August 2008 he was sentenced to five months in prison for having incited the population to evade military service by means of a public statement. Continue reading

Conscientious objection to military service: Papavasilakis v Greece

The First Section ECtHR has today held unanimously that the refusal of the Greek authorities to allow the applicant, Mr Papavasilakis, to perform alternative civilian work instead of compulsory military service had violated his rights under Article 9 ECHR (thought, conscience and religion).

Background

In January 2013 Mr Papavasilakis asked if he could carry out alternative civilian work instead of compulsory military service because he was a conscientious objector. He appeared before the Greek Army’s Special Commission to explain his request, referring in particular to the religious education he had received from his mother, a Jehovah’s Witness, and his rejection of war, violence or destruction in all its forms. Continue reading

Forthcoming ECtHR judgment: conscientious objection: Papavasilakis v Greece

On Thursday 15 September the ECtHR will hand down its judgment in Papavasilakis v Greece (no. 66899/14).

In January 2013 Mr Papavasilakis sought authorisation to carry out alternative civilian work because he was a conscientious objector. He appeared before the Greek Army’s Special Board to explain his request, referring in particular to the religious education he had received from his mother, a Jehovah’s Witness, and his rejection of war, violence or destruction in all its forms. Continue reading

Conscientious objection to military service again: Enver Aydemir v Turkey

Background

In 2007 Enver Aydemir refused to do compulsory military service on grounds of conscience. He was taken by force to the Bilecik gendarmerie station, where he refused to put on a military uniform and obey orders from his superior. In July 2007 he was taken into pre-trial detention and, subsequently, two sets of criminal proceedings were instituted against him for persistent disobedience. In September 2007 he was provisionally released but did not return to his regiment: as a result, he was regarded as a deserter.

On 24 December 2009, he was arrested. A military court ordered his pre-trial detention and he was taken to Maltepe military prison. He claimed that he was beaten up by the prison warders and obliged to spend the night in a cell, naked. In August 2011 he was sentenced to imprisonment for persistent disobedience. Various proceedings were brought against him, and an appeal against a sentence of 10 months’ imprisonment is currently pending before the Military Court of Cassation. Continue reading