Comments: Comments on the European court decisions

Just a few things on Andrew Brown's thoughtful piece.

Information suggests that the majority of local authorities followed Islington's example of making all registrars, civil partnership registrars.

Islington did try to accommodate Ms Ladele and although the court here says she was dismissed a previous judgement says she resigned.

In the circumstances one might expect quite a group of disenchanted registrars to come to light, it is significant there is not. Where are they all hiding?

In fact what is striking is just how few cases of any sort there have been and how longstanding these grievances have endured. Not wearing jewellery as part of a uniform code is something I recall from my childhood, even then that included crosses or crucifixes and that was a Roman Catholic school.

It does seem that this very longstanding and much used prohibition against jewellery has been hijacked here. The court itself points out that wearing a cross had come lately to be a matter of concern for the complainant.

Again, tucked away is the rather sobering fact that although she refused another un-uniformed job while the matter was sorted out, preferring to stay at home on no pay, Nadia Eweida received far more by way of gifts and cash from supporting groups than she would have earned at BA.

So while content at the outcome, I have serious concerns about how this matter is presented; the quality of the complainants cases; the number of complainants, or lack of them; the pressure on the complainants from their backers and the agenda of those who are promoting these cases.

I too think the dissenting opinions in the Ladelle case will have a long term impact.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 16 January 2013 at 12:08pm GMT

The dissenting opinions in the Ladele case are rather alarming in some respects. Not that there shouldn't be a dissent - the anomaly of being or not being a Registrar for CPs always opened up the possibility of a different judgment; but the characterisation of the authority by the judges is quite simply alarming in a number of respects.

I think the judges here roam far too wide and overstep the role of the Strasbourg court as a court of review that respects national decision making.

Yes it's a minority and there's a further step of appeal but nevertheless it's a worrying development in those who are concerned that the Strasbourg court is making too free with careful national determinations and not respecting a proper margin of appreciation.

Paradoxically the comportment of these judges and their lack of restraint is more likely to add to the likelihood of the UK either leaving the mechanism or a least (illegally so far as I can tell) declare a degree of autonomy from the Court.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Thursday, 17 January 2013 at 8:29am GMT

Did anyone see that the Vatican has voiced an opinion on the judgments?

Does anyone think anyone cares anymore what the Vatican thinks about anything?

Posted by Tom at Thursday, 17 January 2013 at 1:56pm GMT

Significant that we have both Craig Nelson and badman on an earlier thread stating that these judgements have, in important ways, overstepped the mark in what the Strasbourg court should be doing.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 17 January 2013 at 4:46pm GMT

Martin, I think the strong case against Ladele is that she was happy to marry divorced people -- which is a large part of what a registry office exists to do -- while maintaining that she was driven by biblical standards of faithful marriage between one man and one woman for life. I had forgotten or overlooked that when I wrote (I remembered it while chatting to the leader writer later) because I wanted to drive the line about tolerating mistaken opinions. Which I still think is extremely important, though how much toleration and when are clearly matters on which reasonable people will differ.

So far as I remember, she sued for constructive dismissal, though she may formally have resigned.

The dissenting views seem to me to have been informed by a lot of stuff that was not presented to the court.

Posted by Andrew Brown at Friday, 18 January 2013 at 11:18am GMT
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