In a groundbreaking ruling today, the High Court of Northern Ireland found the current arrangements for collective worship and religious education (RE) breach an article in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which provides that the state "must respect the right of parents' religious and philosophical convictions in respect of education and teaching".
The case was brought in 2021 by a father and his seven year old daughter. They were granted leave to seek a judicial review of the arrangements after the girl's family, who are non-religious, discovered her praying late into the night.
This led them to investigate how her school was imposing Christianity on young children through religious assemblies and RE lessons.
They argued that a complete focus on Christianity, to the exclusion of all other faiths and with no meaningful alternative, is an unlawful violation of the human rights of children in NI.
They were represented by human rights lawyer Darragh Mackin of Phoenix Law, who has discussed the case at a recent NSS conference and podcast.
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