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www.ReligionLaw.co.uk  -  Civil  Cases

(This page provides case references and links to relevant court judgements or news reports.

See also the pages dealing with Criminal,  and  International/European  Cases.


 Grainger Plc & Ors v. Nicholson [2009] UKEAT 0219_09_0311 (3 November 2009)

A well publicised case where a believer in Man Made Global Warming succeeded in his claim that his beliefs qualifed for protection as a "Philosophical Belief" for the purpose of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003  It is however important to remember that he did not actually win his claim on the facts, that still has to be heard by an Employment Tribunal, what he won was the right to claim that his beliefs qualifed for protection under the regulations


Catholic Care v Charity Commission (Charity Tribunal 1 June 2009)

A case where a Catholic Adoption Agency tried, unsuccesfully, to amend its objects in a way that would allow it not to place children with same sex couples


Ghai v Newcastle City Council [2010] EWCA Civ 59

Ghai v Newcastle City Council [2009] EWHC 978 (Admin)
The High Court rejected a claim by a British Hindu that preventing him from having an open air Cremation infringed his rights to Freedom of Religion under Article 9  of the European Convention on Human Rights however the Court of Appeal sidestepped the entire Religious Freedom argument by holding that an open air cremation within a building without a roof was not contrary to the law


Chondol v Liverpool City Council (EAT) - 11 February 2009

 the EAT held that dismissing someone on grounds of inappropriate proselytisation (here, a carer asking a vulnerable service user if he believed in God and went to church) did not amount to unlawful discrimination on grounds of religion or belief.


Lillian Ladelle v London Borough of Islington [2009] EWCA Civ 1357- 15 December 2009

Lillian Ladelle v London Borough of Islington (EAT) - 19 December 2008)

Lillian Ladelle v London Borough of Islington (ET) - 8 July 2008 J

(An Employment Tribunal case where a Registrar of Marriages was discriminated against and harassed by her Employers because she did not wish to perform Civil Partnerships (sometimes called "Gay Marriage) para 50 of the ET judgement is especially noticeable "This is a case where there is a direct conflict between the legislative protection afforded to religion and belief and the legislative protection afforded to sexual orientation .... One set of rights cannot overrule the other set of rights)  The decision of the ET was subsequently overuled by the EAT and was then appealed to the Court of Appeal who agreed with the EAT

BBC News Story about the case

An article by me discussing this case


EM (Lebanon) v Home Secretary [2008] UKHL 64

Here the House of Lords refused to allow the deportation of a woman and her son to Lebanon on the basis that Shariah Law as applied in Lebanon would mean that the son would pass to the custody of the Father and his family.  In para 6 Lord Hope said "Shari'a law as it is applied in Lebanon was created by and for men in a male dominated society" 


Eweida v British Airways [2010] EWCA Civ 80

EWEIDA v British Airways  BAILII: [2008] UKEAT 0123_08_2011

A case where a Christian Employee lost her claim to be allowed to wear a visible Cross along with her BA uniform.  The case seems very difficult to reconcile with the case of Sakira Singh and,  worryingly where the EAT judgement makes reference to the Sakira case it completely misrepresents it, in para 14 the Judge says of Sakira case " the claimant believed that she was required by her religion to wear the Kara" but that is contray to the findings of the Judge in the Sakira case  para 29 "although the claimant is not obliged by her religion to wear a Kara, it is clearly in her case extremely important indication of her faith"  which is exactly what the Christian Eweida was claiming about her Cross.  In its judgement the Court of Appeal simply ignored the Sakira Singh decision.


Sakira Singh [2008] EWHC 1865 (Admin) 

A case where a Sikh Schoolgirl won the right to wear the 'Kara' bracelet. The decision, on the face of it, disagrees with the decisions in the  Begum  Playfoot  and X v Y School  cases.  However those cases concerned Article 9  Freedom of Religion and this case was argued on Religious and Racial Discrimination grounds and not on Article 9.  It is also worth looking at the 1983 case of Mandla v Dowell Lee [1983] 2 AC 548 where the House of Lords held that it was unlawful discrimination to stop a Sikh schoolboy wearing a Turban


Saini v All Saints Haque Centre  BAILII: [2008] UKEAT 0227_08_2410 Here it was held that harassing someone because of their association with a member of another Religion is unlawful harassment under Reg 5 of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003


R v JFS School [2009] UKSC 15

E v JFS School [2009] EWCA Civ 626

E v JFS (Jewish Free School) [2008] EWHC 1535/1536 (Admin)

A case involving the question how you define who is a Jew.  Notable for the astonishing fact that in the EWHC case one of the Barristers involved relied on the Nazi "Nuremberg Laws" to bolster her case.  The judge expressed his "distaste" at even being expected to treat the Nazi laws as "law" let alone be expected to base his decision on them, in the event he found them of no relevance in his decision.  The decison was however reversed by the Court of Appeal in an extremely controversial EWCA decision which found that the school was in fact being racist by applyng the historiacl definition of Jweish as being either a convert or alternatively the child of a Jewish mother. The case then went before the UK Supreme Court who, by a 5-4 decision agreed with the Court of Appeal and therefore made the astonishing decision that a Court ws better qualified than the Chief Rabbi to decide whether or not someone is Jewish


Gallagher (Valuation Officer) V Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [2008] UKHL 56

An interesting tax decision which relies on the fact that the public are not allowed to enter Mormon Temples and so a Temple is not a place of public worship for the purposes of Tax law


Christian Institute and an Application for Judicial Review [2007] NIQB 66

An interesting decision by the High Court in Northern Ireland concerning the legality of the Northern Irish Sexual Orientation Regulations.  Because these are similar to the GB Sexual Orientation Regulations the decision is certain to be quoted in GB cases.


McClintock v Department for Constitutional Affairs [2007] UKEAT A Christian Magistrate who did not want to sit on "Gay Adoption" cases was not the victim of Religious Discrimination.


KC and NNC -v- City of Westminster [2008] EWCA Civ 198

(A strange, and sad, case concerning the legal validity of an Islamic marriage ceremony which took place over the phone with the "bride" being in Bangladesh and the "bridegroom" being in England.  Owing to the bridegroom being severely mentally disabled the marriage was invalid but it is worth noticing that there was nothing inherently illegal in such a "telephone" marriage though such marriages are now apparently illegal in France)


Surayanda v The Welsh Ministers [2007] EWCA Civ 893

Surayanda v The Welsh Ministers [2007] EWHC 1736 (Admin)

(In this case a sacred Bullock [Shambo] was kept in a Hindu Shrine in Wales.  He was diagnosed with Bovine TB and the Welsh Government decided he had to be killed.  In the High Court [EWHC] case it was decided that this would breach the Hindus Article 9 rights but this decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal [EWCA] and Shambo was taken away and killed)

A BBC news story on the case


Playfoot v Millais School [2007] EWHC 1698 (Admin)

( A Christian School Girl took her school to court under Article 9 for the right to wear a "purity ring" as a symbol of her Christian commitment to remain celibate until married,  She lost the case)

A BBC news story on the case

X v Y School [2007] EWHC 298 (Admin)

(In this case a Muslim Schoolgirl tried to oblige her school to let her wear the Niqab (Face Veil).  She failed in large part because of the House of Lords decision in the Begum case)


Ayesha Azmi v Kirklees MBC [2007] UKEAT 0009/07

(A case brought under the The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003  where the Employment Appeals Tribunal upheld the decision of a School to suspend a Muslim Teaching Assistant who refused to obey an instruction to remove her face veil (Niqab) when in class. Interestingly neither the EAT nor the Tribunal itself referred to the Begum or X cases in making their decision) 

BBC news story about the case of Ayesha Azmi


Begum  v  Denbigh  High  School [2006] UKHL 15

Begum  v  Denbigh  High  School [2005] EWCA  Civ  199

Begum  v  Denbigh  High  School [2004] EWHC  1389 (Admin)

( In the High Court [EWHC] case it was held that a School was entitled to refuse to allow Muslim pupil, Shabina Begum, to wear a Jilbab instead of the School Uniform (which included an option for Muslim pupils to wear a Hijab). This decision was then overruled in the Court of Appeal [EWCA] case and then reinstated in the House of Lords [UKHL] case.  The House of Lords were unanimous in rejecting the Court of Appeals decision and did so in unusually strong terms. The case was brought under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights  and paras 23 & 24 of the House of Lords decision contains a valuable summary of Article 9 decisions by the European Court of Human Rights )

News Reports and Background information on the case

BBC,  Daily Telegraph,  The Times,  The Guardian,  Spiked Online,  Muslim Weekly


Harris v NKL Automotive [2007] UKEAT A Rastafarian who was not allowed to wear dreadlocks at work was not the victim of Religious Discrimination


Copsey v  WWB Devon Clays  [2005] EWCA Civ 932

Copsey v  WWB Devon Clays  [2004] UKEAT 0438_03_1302

A case where first the Employment Appeals Tribunal and then the Court of Appeal rejected a claim that to oblige a practicing Christian to work on a Sunday was a breach of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.  it is important to note that the facts in this case arose BEFORE   the coming into force of the The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003A case brought under those regulations might achieve a different result.


Amicus & Ors v DTI & Ors [2004]  EWHC  860  (Admin)

( The Exemption for Religious Belief in the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations did not contravene European Union Law )


Williamson v Secretary of State for Education [2005] UKHL  15

Williamson v Secretary of State for Education [2002] EWCA Civ 1926

(Preventing a Christian school inflicting corporal punishment was not a breach of Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights)


Esther Thomas - v - News Group Newsapers [2001] EWCA Civ 1233

(A case which held that it is possible to sue a Newspaper for Harassment)


BBC news story about a lawyer wearing the Islamic Veil (niqab)in Court

New Rules Relating to the wearing of the Niqab by lawyers in Court


BBC news story about the wearing of a Cross by Nadia Eweida an employee of British Airways.



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