Publication: Institutional religious symbols, state neutrality and protection of minorities in Europe.
Full text at PDC
Advisors (or tutors)
The Edmund Plowden Trust
This article examines religious symbols from the perspective of what is meant by state neutrality in religious matters and argues that neutrality cannot be a uniform constitutional principle, enforced at the European level, containing a particular notion of how the relations between state and religion should be structured. It argues that the judgement of the Grand Chamber in Lautsi II was correct but that the Court could have developed the idea that coercion should be the test for a violation of freedom of religion or belief, and not the subjective feeling of offence experienced by some persons in the presence of some religious symbols. The article, in addition to looking at the jurisprudence of the ECtHR, also looks at that of continental national courts with a particular emphasis on the approach adopted in Spain and Germany.