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    In its ruling of June 12, 2014, the European Court on Human Rights (Grand Chamber) concluded that no violation of the right to private life and family life under the European Convention of Human Rights had taken place in the case of the non-renewal of an employment contract of a Roman Catholic teacher of religion and ethics. The reason for this non-renewal was the withdrawal of the required ecclesiastical approval of the teacher. According to the European Court, church autonomy prevailed in this case over the right to private life and family life of the teacher, a married priest with five children and an active member of an organization promoting voluntary celibacy. This contribution analyses and discusses the ruling of the ECHR, also in the light of the main dissenting opinion. It supports the Court’s conclusion, but criticizes some of its reasoning. It also states that regardless of the extent of church autonomy, a clear and correct procedural approach to employment issues also does honour ecclesiastical authorities.


Prof. dr. Sophie van Bijsterveld
Prof. dr. S.C. van Bijsterveld is bijzonder hoogleraar Religie, rechtsstaat en samenleving aan de Universiteit van Tilburg. Zij is redactielid van het Tijdschrift voor Religie, Recht en Beleid.
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