Advertising, religion and Articles 9 & 10 ECHR: Lancashire Festival of Hope

In Lancashire Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham Limited v Blackpool Borough Council & Anor [2021] Manchester Cty Ct F00MA124, the Court was asked, in effect, to rule on whether or not a charitable limited company could be regarded as having “human rights” for the purposes of anti-discrimination legislation and the ECHR.

The background

The Lancashire Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham Limited (LFH), a private limited company and a registered charity, was set up to organise the Lancashire Festival of Hope, which was held at the Blackpool Winter Gardens in September 2018 [1]. Franklin Graham, an American evangelist with controversial views, spoke at the Festival on each day [2]. In the spring of 2018, LFH had contracted with the Second Defendant, Blackpool Transport Services Ltd (through its agent Exterion Media Ltd) to display banner advertisements on its buses from 2 to 29 July 2018. The advertisements read “Lancashire Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham – Time for Hope” and gave the date and venue of the Festival and the URL for the Festival’s website. They contained no overtly religious wording nor imagery [5]. After complaints from members of the public about the advertisements, they were removed from the buses [6]. Continue reading