European Court to rule next week on UK Christian cases

European judges will issue a landmark ruling on Tuesday on whether the UK Government failed to protect the human rights of four British Christians.

The judgment will be posted on the website of the European Court of Human Rights at 09:00 GMT on Tuesday 15 January.

In recent years, UK equality laws have been criticised for diminishing the rights of Christians.


The European Court in Strasbourg considered four landmark cases at a hearing in September last year.

One case involves Lillian Ladele, a Christian registrar who was pushed out of her job at Islington Council because of her stance on civil partnerships.

She was pushed out even though Islington accepted that it had enough registrars to provide a civil partnership service to the public without requiring Miss Ladele’s involvement.


Two cases relate to Christians who were told they couldn’t wear a cross in the workplace – one worked for the NHS, the other for British Airways.

The remaining case involves a relationship counsellor who said he might not wish to provide gay sex therapy.

The Lillian Ladele case is being supported by the Legal Defence Fund of The Christian Institute, a national charity that helps protect the civil liberty of Christians.


Last year a group of MPs and Peers published a report looking into whether Christians face discrimination in the UK.

It concluded that Christians really are facing genuine legal difficulties, and it may be helpful to promote a concept of “reasonable accommodation” for religious belief in the public sphere.

The report criticised the Equality Act for failing to deal with the tensions between different strands of equality.


But the UK Government resisted the four cases at the European Court, arguing that Christians should leave their faith at home or they may have to consider alternative employment.

The National Secular Society also opposed the cases, arguing that the UK courts were right to reject the four claims.

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, said: “Any change to the law to increase religious accommodation — as most if not all other interveners are calling for — stands the risk of seriously undermining UK equality law.”

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