A colleague recently asked me for a list of what I thought were the half-dozen or so seminal UK and European cases on freedom of religion. It’s a very interesting question and I replied in terms of the modern case-law rather than delving into the historical stuff. Inevitably, my answers were somewhat subjective: for example, I wondered about including Watkins-Singh in the list but decided that the key case on religious dress was Begum. I also thought very hard about including Laws LJ’s judgment in McFarlane but decided that it was about the priority of secular law rather than about freedom of religion.
I came up with the following:
- Arrowsmith v United Kingdom  ECHR 7: What is a “manifestation”?
- Re South Place Ethical Society  1 WLR: What is a “religion”?
- Campbell and Cosans v United Kingdom  ECHR 1: What is a “philosophical belief”?
- Kalaç v Turkey  ECHR 37: Can an employer restrict an employee’s religious activity?
- R (Williamson & Ors) v Secretary of State for Education and Employment & Ors  UKHL 15: How far must religious convictions be respected?
- R (Begum) v Headteacher and Governors of Denbigh High School  UKHL 15: Education and the right to manifest: how far can you go?
- R (E) v Governing Body of JFS & Anor  UKSC 15: Does the religious definition of a particular religious identity trump the secular one?
- Eweida & Ors v United Kingdom  ECHR 37: What kinds of “manifestation” are protected by Article 9 ECHR?
- R (Hodkin) & Anor v Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages  UKSC 77: What is a “religion”?
So those are my picks: what’s yours?