The Book of Common Prayer, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Article 9 ECHR

The perennial issue of precisely what kinds of religious manifestation are protected by Article 9 ECHR has been in the news again.

The facts

In Hodson v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2014] UT CJSA/3466/2013 (unreported) the appellant, Mr Graham Hodson, a former communications supervisor with Cheshire Police, claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance in August 2012 after his student-related job at the University of Chester came to an end. On 25 September he was given a written instruction requiring him to attend an interview with a personal adviser on 27 September but he informed the official who had handed him the written instruction that he would be unable to attend because, instead, he would be at a service of Holy Communion at Chester Cathedral.  He asked if the interview could be rearranged but was refused – and he did not attend the interview.  As a result, he was treated as “not having made a claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance such that he would not be paid the benefit from 26 September 2012” under Regulation 12(2)(a) of the Social Security (Jobcentre Plus Interviews) Regulations 2002 [para 2]. Continue reading