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Welcome to the Site of the Strasbourg Consortium 
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This site is dedicated to reporting and commenting upon issues involving freedom of conscience, religion, or belief throughout the member states of the Council of Europe, with particular focus on the work of the European Court of Human Rights and its predecessor tribunal, the European Commission of Human Rights. We are working to make this site the definitive source of information for scholars and others interested in understanding and having some influence upon the work of the Court in this vital area. Since the decisions on the important issues pending before the Court will shape the basic contours of freedom of religion or belief for years to come, not only throughout Europe, but throughout the world as the Court and its opinions become increasingly influential, the kind of work envisioned by, and carried out by, the Strasbourg Consortium is particularly critical.  

We welcome you to our site, and encourage you to investigate its possibilities to determine how it may serve you, and how you might contribute to its success.

PLEASE NOTE: This site is independently operated by the staff of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. It has no official affiliation with the Council of Europe or the European Court of Human Rights.

Image for Recent Decisions, Judgments, and Hearings

Case of Metodiev and Others v. Bulgaria (No. 58088/08) [Judgement in French only] Fifth Section Judgment - 15 June 2017. The applicants are of Ahmadiyan faith, a religious movement derived from Sunni Islam founded in Punjab in the late 19th century by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.  The applicants were denied registration as a new worship association under the Worship Act in May of 2007 by the Sofia City Court because the statutes of the religious association did not specify the group’s  beliefs but merely reproduced the objectives and activities mentioned in the law on non-profit legal entities.  Further the Sofia City Court held that the group distinguished itself from the Muslim religion and was likely to provoke a schism within the Muslim community in Bulgaria. 

The... more

Image for Recently Communicated Cases

Dzikowski v. Poland (No. 38799/11) Communicated 27 May 2017. The applicant complains under Articles 8 and 9 of the Convention about the refusal to grant him leave from prison to conclude a religious (Islamic) marriage.  The Court questions whether the planned religious marriage was a manifestation of the applicant’s freedom of religion within the meaning of Article 9 § 1 of the Convention.

Kilic v. Austria (No. 27700/15) Communicated 23 May 2017. Applicants complain that under Article 9 of the Convention that their two youngest children have been placed in a Christian foster care family and are now growing up without learning the Turkish language and culture, and without any contact with the Muslim religion. They complain that the domestic courts ignored cultural, linguistic and religious factors when the children were placed with Christian foster parents who do not have any Turkish or Muslim background. Among other questions the Court asks whether statistics... more

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Paradiso and Campanelli v. Italy (no. 25358/12) - Grand Chamber Judgment 24 January 2017. The case concerned the placement in social-service care of a nine-month-old child who had been born in Russia following a gestational surrogacy contract entered into by a couple; it subsequently transpired that they had no biological relationship with the child. In its judgment of 27 January 2015, the Court's Second Section found a violation of ECHR Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), "in particular that the public-policy considerations underlying Italian authorities’ decisions – finding that the applicants had attempted to circumvent the prohibition in Italy on using surrogacy arrangements and the rules governing international adoption – could not take precedence over the best interests of the child, in spite of the absence of any biological relationship and the short period during which the applicants had cared for him. Reiterating that the removal of a child from the family setting was an extreme measure that could be justified only in the event of immediate danger to that child, the Court considered that, in the present case, the conditions justifying a removal had not been met. However, the Court’s conclusions were not to be understood as obliging the Italian State to return the child to the applicants, as he had undoubtedly developed emotional... more


The COURTalks-disCOURs videos are geared to providing legal professionals, as well as civil society representatives, with an overview of the Court’s jurisprudence in different matters. Made in cooperation with the European HELP programme, these educational videos are subtitled in different languages and are available with a transcript setting out the relevant case-law precedents in each sphere.

Press release HELP website