Page v Lord Chancellor and another UKEAT/0304/18/LA

Appeal against the ET’s dismissal of the Claimant’s claims for discrimination on the grounds of religious belief and victimisation following his removal from office as a lay magistrate. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant, a practising Christian, held the office of lay magistrate, hearing cases in both criminal and family matters. While hearing a same-sex adoption application concerning a young child, he expressed views to his fellow magistrates which made it clear to them that he had a problem with the notion of a same-sex couple adopting the child. Further, in contravention of an Advice Note about magistrates' contact with the media, he made comments to the national media which led to him being removed from the office of lay magistrate by the Respondents for "serious misconduct". The Claimant brought various claims before the ET, including direct discrimination because of religion or belief, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. The ET rejected all of the claims, and the Claimant appealed on the ground that, in considering the issue of the "severability" of parts of the protected acts, the ET failed to analyse fully why the protected act was severable, misapplied Martin v Devonshire and failed to correctly apply Article 10 of the ECHR.

The EAT held that the ET had not erred in concluding that the Claimant's removal from the office of lay magistrate was a proportionate limitation on his right to freedom of expression and, as such, would be regarded as necessary in a democratic society for maintaining the authority or impartiality of the judiciary.

Published: 01/07/2019 16:30