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Eweida and others v. the United Kingdom, Nos. 48420/10 and other 3, ECtHR (Fourth Section), 27 May 2013


Wearing of religious symbols at the workplace and policy of neutrality of the enterprise. Wearing of religious symbols, security of the hospital and protection of the health of patients. Conscientious objection of the registrar to officiate civil partnerships. Conscientious objection to the psychotherapeutic counseling to homosexual couples. 

Normative references

Art. 9 ECHR 
Art. 14 ECHR 


  • The case of Ms Nadia Eweida 
In striking a fair balance between the fundamental right to wear a cross around the neck at the workplace and the desire of the employer, albeit legitimate, to project a certain corporate image, according too much weight to the latter factor amounts to a violation of Art. 9 ECHR. 
(In this case, a British Airways employee, practicing Christian, complained of a violation of Art. 9 ECHR, for the restriction on wearing a cross, that the company uniform revealed).  
  • The case of Ms Chaplin  
The protection of the health and safety of a hospital unit overrides the applicant’s right to manifest her Christian faith at the workplace by wearing a cross. There is no violation of Art. 9 ECHR, either alone nor in conjunction with Art. 14 ECHR.
(In the instant case, a geriatric nurse complained of a violation of religious freedom due to the restriction on wearing a cross around her neck for clinical safety reasons).
  • The case of Ms Ladele 
A balance must be struck between religious freedom and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Having required to all registrars to officiate civil partnerships falls within the margin of appreciation of the national authorities. 
(In this case the applicant, a registrar and a Christian believer, refused to officiate civil partnerships and, consequently, lost her job).
  • The case of Mr McFarlane 
1. In the judgment of proportionality between the religious manifestation of the frequent and the attention of the director of work, an important factor to consider is that the company's measure was aimed at guaranteeing its policy of providing a service without discrimination.
2. The state has not exceeded the margin of appreciation, which in this case is "large": there has been no limitation of art. 9 ECHR neither alone nor read jointly with Art. 14 ECHR.
(In the instant case, the applicant, an Orthodox Christian, had refused to provide psychotherapeutic advice to homosexual couples)