Supreme Court volunteer ruling protects churches

Churches have been saved from an avalanche of equality laws following a UK Supreme Court ruling.

The court, the highest in the country, ruled unanimously in X v Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau that volunteers are not covered by the same discrimination rights as employees.

The Christian Institute intervened in the case to protect the religious freedom of churches and other religious bodies.


The Supreme Court ruled that EU employment discrimination law does not extend to volunteers and said there is no need to refer the issue to the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

A spokesman for The Christian Institute said: “If the ‘X’ case had been successful there would have been serious consequences for the voluntary sector.

“Church volunteer positions such as leaders or helpers in Sunday Schools, home groups, children’s groups etc could have been made subject to equality law – with all the potential litigation that could cause.

“We are pleased that churches and other religious bodies now do not face being endlessly tied up in litigation.”

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