Freedom of Thought Conscience and Religion in UK Law

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Leading Cases
  • R (Williamson) v Secretary of State for Education & Employment
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 15 Nov 2001

    (ii) Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

    It is envisaged that it will be needed only for rare cases of relatively serious indiscipline. The parents wish it to be administered in such circumstances because they consider it to be a more efficacious method of securing appropriate discipline. I do not think that it is appropriate to describe a belief that one measure is more effective than another as a philosophical or religious conviction even if the reason for holding that belief is that it is supported by a religious text.

  • R (Williamson) v Secretary of State for Education & Employment
    • House of Lords
    • 24 Feb 2005

    The atheist, the agnostic, and the sceptic are as much entitled to freedom to hold and manifest their beliefs as the theist. These beliefs are placed on an equal footing for the purpose of this guaranteed freedom. In particular, for its manifestation to be protected by article 9 a non-religious belief must relate to an aspect of human life or behaviour of comparable importance to that normally found with religious beliefs.

  • Hall and another v Bull and another
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 10 Feb 2012

    The judge concluded that the restriction constituted discrimination and was on the grounds of sexual orientation. Mr and Mrs Bull contend that this conclusion is wrong because they apply the restriction to persons of heterosexual and homosexual orientation alike if they are not married. But, in agreement with Rafferty LJ, that cannot, in my view, be a sufficient answer. This conclusion is not affected by the existence or terms of Regulation 3(4).

  • R (Begum) v Governors of Denbigh High School
    • House of Lords
    • 22 Mar 2006

    The Strasbourg institutions have not been at all ready to find an interference with the right to manifest religious belief in practice or observance where a person has voluntarily accepted an employment or role which does not accommodate that practice or observance and there are other means open to the person to practise or observe his or her religion without undue hardship or inconvenience. The Commission found (p 109) no interference with her article 9 right because (p 108)

    There is no shift to a merits review, but the intensity of review is greater than was previously appropriate, and greater even than the heightened scrutiny test adopted by the Court of Appeal in R v Ministry of Defence, Ex p Smith [1996] QB 517, 554. The domestic court must now make a value judgment, an evaluation, by reference to the circumstances prevailing at the relevant time ( Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2) [2003] UKHL 40, [2004] 1 AC 816, paras 62-67).

    I accept that wearing a jilbab to a mixed school was, for her, a manifestation of her religion. But her right was not in my opinion infringed because there was nothing to stop her from going to a school where her religion did not require a jilbab or where she was allowed to wear one. Article 9 does not require that one should be allowed to manifest one's religion at any time and place of one's own choosing. Her family had chosen that school for her with knowledge of its uniform requirements.

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Legislation
  • Human Rights Act 1998
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1998
    ...... Act to give further effect to rights and freedoms guaranteed under the European Convention on Human ...proceedings). S-13 . Freedom of thought, conscience and religion. 13 Freedom of thought, ......
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014
    • Scotland
    • January 01, 2014
    ...... SAME SEX MARRIAGE: PROTECTION OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ETC. . S-16 . Same sex marriage: ...(a) the Convention right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,. . . (b) the ......
  • The Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2009
    ...... CONTENTS . PART I . BILL OF RIGHTS, FREEDOMS AND RESPONSIBILITIES . 1. Guarantee of Rights, ... 9. Private and family life . 10. Conscience and religion . 11. Expression . 12. Assembly ... Freedom of conscience includes freedom of thought and of religion or religious denomination; ......
  • The Pitcairn Constitution Order 2010
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2010
    ......2 . FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF THE INDIVIDUAL PART 2 . FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS ...SCH-2.12 . . 12. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion . (1) Everyone has the ......
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Big brother RIP?
    • Nbr. 2001, January 2001
    • Financial Management (UK)
    • Nickson, Sue
    • Human Rights Act (HRA - Brief Article
    ...... of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. . These principles include the right to: . * not ... against on grounds such as sex, race, religion and political opinion; . * a fair trial; . * ...* freedom of thought, conscience and religion; . * freedom of ......
  • Protecting patients' rights: future regulation and monitoring of the Mental Health Act
    • Nbr. 7-4, December 2005
    • The Journal of Adult Protection
    • 32-40
    The draft Mental Health Bill 2004 proposes transfer of the main monitoring functions of the Mental Health Act Commission (MHAC) to the Healthcare Commission (or in practice whatever body succeeds t...
    ...... 3), right to private life (Article 8), freedom of thought, conscience and r eligion (Ar ticle ... to freedom of thought, conscience and religion etc Art 11: Everyone has the right to freedom of ......
  • Ideological Neutrality in the Workplace
    • Nbr. 81-2, March 2018
    • The Modern Law Review
    This note assesses the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Achbita v G4S Secure Solutions NV and Bougnaoui v Micropole SA, the first cases dealing with religious discriminati...
    ...... of putting individuals of certain religions or beliefs at a particular disadvantage. The CJEU ...: Does ‘Neutrality’ Trump Religious Freedom?’ V ¨ olkerrechtsblog at ..., along with ‘the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion’. This includes the ......
  • Challenging behaviour: a human rights‐based approach
    • Nbr. 4-2, June 2010
    • Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities
    • 20-26
    When the behaviour of people with intellectual disabilities challenges carers and services, complex and competing human rights issues may emerge. This article explores the human rights issues raise...
    ...... home and correspondence the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion the ......
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Protection against religious discrimination in the workplace
    • LexBlog United Kingdom
    The European Court of Human Rights has recently ruled in the cases of four individuals who were unsuccessful in their claims in the UK courts for religious discrimination at work.  All four applica...
    ......, brought claims relying on Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and Article ......
  • Employee dismissed for discussing their religious beliefs at work – can it ever be fair?
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    Employers are usually advised to exercise extreme caution where an employee's religion or beliefs are a factor in their own disciplinary process. Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Right...
    ...... extreme caution where an employee's religion or beliefs are a factor in their own disciplinary ... (ECHR) provides everyone the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (with this ......
  • Facebook Fury And A Fair Dismissal - Teggert v Teletech
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... respect for private and family life), 9 (freedom of thought, conscience or religion) and 10 ......
  • Religious Beliefs And EHC
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    ...... "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right ......
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