Registering religious groups and Article 9 ECHR: Scientology and Russia

Several states within the Council of Europe operate systems ofrussian-flag scientology registration for religious groups; however, though this is a long-established practice in many jurisdictions, the ECtHR is becoming increasingly suspicious, on Article 9 grounds, of failures by states parties either to register religious groups or to grant them legal personality on what can sometimes look like arbitrary or capricious grounds.

The facts in brief

In Church of Scientology of St Petersburg & Ors v Russia [2014] ECHR 1019 the applicants were an unincorporated group of Russian citizens formed for the collective study of Scientology and six individual members who complained about the authorities’ refusal to register their Scientology group as a legal entity. Continue reading