Human rights judges have today rejected a human rights complaint against the United Kingdom from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The case concerned its complaint of being denied an exemption from local property taxes.
The applicant organisation, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is a religious organisation, registered as a private unlimited company in the United Kingdom. It is part of the worldwide Mormon Church.
In 2001 the church applied to have its temple in Preston, Lancashire, removed from a list of premises liable to pay business tax, on the grounds that it was a “place of public religious worship” which was entitled to exemption from that tax.
While a first-instance court decision granted the church’s claim, that decision was overturned in 2005.
In a final decision of July 2008, the House of Lords dismissed the church’s appeal, holding in particular that the temple was not to be qualified as a “place of public religious worship,” since access to the temple was restricted to a select group of the most devout followers holding a special authorisation.
The applicant organisation complained in particular that the refusal to its temple of the exemption from business rates amounted to discrimination on religious grounds, in breach of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience, and religion).
However, the European Court of Human Rights held that there was no violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 9.