The Crucifix in the public school classroom in European court rulings Cover Image

Krzyż w szkole publicznej w orzecznictwie europejskim
The Crucifix in the public school classroom in European court rulings

Author(s): Jacek Falski
Subject(s): Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: the European Court of Human Rights; crucifixes in the classroom; human rights

Summary/Abstract: Lautsi v. Italy was an important court case that was tried at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The subsequent ruling on 3rd November 2009 noted that the display of religious symbols (i.e., the crucifix in Italian public school classes) is contrary to Article 2 of the 1st Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights. This decision which went against Italy is in line with other judgments in similar cases, and seems to be promoting the European public school as a place of confessional neutrality where the goal is to cultivate secular values of a democratic society in pupils. The European Court of Human Rights thus clearly supports the idea and principles of secularism and the impartiality of the state. However, the ruling did not impose any obligation to undertake adequate legal solutions or verify the existing law, leaving each member state a level of freedom to make opinions and final decisions on their own. The Lautsi v. Italy judgment had an indirect influence on the entire public service sphere, of which the public school is just one link of a chain. Yet Italy filed an appeal and the case was referred to the Court’s Grand Chamber. Its hearing is to be held on June 30, 2010. The legal ramifications of this ruling therefore remain an important debate in Europe.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 37
  • Page Range: 177-187
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Polish