Ecclesiastical Law Journal

Articles

New Trends in Religious Liberty and the European Court of Human Rights

Ian Leigha1

a1 Professor of Law, Human Rights Centre, Durham University

Abstract

This article analyses recent trends in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights concerned with the right to freedom of thought, belief and religion (Article 9, European Convention on Human Rights) and the right of parents to respect by the state for their religious and philosophical views in the education of their children (Article 2, Protocol 1).1 These developments include notable decisions concerned with protection from religious persecution in Georgia, with religious education in Norway and Turkey and with the display of crucifixes in state schools in Italy. It is apparent that the European Convention religious liberty jurisprudence increasingly stresses the role of the state as a neutral protector of religious freedom. For individuals religious freedom is now also recognised to include not only the right to manifest their religious belief but also freedom from having to declare their religious affiliation. As the religious liberty jurisprudence comes of age, other significant developments, for example in relation to conscientious objection to military service, can be anticipated.