Lautsi v. Italy: Coercion and Lack of Neutrality in the Classroom?
(2012-2013) 6 Annuaire Droit et Religions 601-617
15 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2012 Last revised: 28 Nov 2012
Date Written: 2012
On 18 March 2011, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its much awaited judgment in Lautsi and Others v Italy. The case revolved around the presence of crucifixes on the walls of classrooms in state schools. The Grand Chamber, in overturning the Chamber judgment, found that there was no breach of parental rights in education under Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention. The state did not have a duty to maintain neutrality in schools and it had a wide margin of appreciation in deciding on the place of religious symbols in schools. This commentary focuses on the Grand Chamber’s reasoning, compares it with the Chamber’s judgment, draws examples from other jurisdictions and considers the potential implications of the Chamber judgment being upheld by the Grand Chamber.
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