Journal Article

Neutrality in the classroom

Dimitrios Kyritsis and Stavros Tsakyrakis

in International Journal of Constitutional Law

Published on behalf of The New York University School of Law

Volume 11, issue 1, pages 200-217
Published in print January 2013 | ISSN: 1474-2640
Published online January 2013 | e-ISSN: 1474-2659 | DOI:
Neutrality in the classroom

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  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • UK Politics


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In Lautsi v. Italy the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights decided that the display of the crucifix on the classroom walls of Italian state schools is compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights. In this article we develop an account of neutrality, which militates against the decision of the Grand Chamber and vindicates the claimants. Its gist is that neutrality is not only infringed, when individuals are coerced by the state to pursue a certain religious faith or attitude, but also when the state endorses a religious faith or attitude in regulating areas of social life that pertain to one's status as free and equal member of the political community. Breaches of neutrality, thus understood, constitute a violation of the right to religious freedom. They are also not amenable to a proportionality assessment and impose a uniform standard for all members of the Council of Europe. The display of the crucifix in Italian state schools falls short of this standard.

Journal Article.  10212 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; UK Politics

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