European Court judgement in the case of Eweida and others

On 15 January 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ruling on the case of Eweida and Others v. United Kingdom was published.

The Court found that the rights of Nadia Eweida had been violated under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, however, in the case of the three other claimants, the Court concluded that the interference with their freedom to manifest their religion was legitimate and proportionate.

The case originated in four applications (nos. 48420/10, 59842/10, 51671/10 and 36516/10) against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by four British nationals, Ms Nadia Eweida, Ms Shirley Chaplin, Ms Lillian Ladele and Mr Gary McFarlane (“the applicants”), on 10 August 2010, 29 September 2010, 3 September 2010 and 24 June 2010 respectively.

The applicants complained that domestic law failed adequately to protect their right to manifest their religion. Ms Eweida and Ms Chaplin complain specifically about restrictions placed by their employers on their wearing of a cross visibly around their necks. Ms Ladele and Mr McFarlane complained specifically about sanctions taken against them by their employers as a result of their concerns about performing services which they considered to condone homosexual union. Ms Eweida, Ms Chaplin and Mr McFarlane invoked Article 9 of the Convention, taken alone and in conjunction with Article 14, while Ms Ladele complained only under Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 9.

Welcoming the judgment, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced that it would be working with employers and religious groups to help them interpret the ruling.

Click here for judgment

Click here for press release summarising judgment and details of the case

Click here for EHRC response and click here for details of EHRC intervention in the case and related consultation

Click here for British Humanist Association response

Click here for ILGA Europe response

Click here for Liberty response

Click here for response from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Click here for report on the BBC website

Click here for article in Personnel Today (15 January 2013)

Click here for article in Local Government Lawyer (15 January 2013)