Britain: Defeat for "Peace Tax Seven"


The Guardian reported on 25 July on the judicial review of the "Peace Tax Seven" to guarantee the right to conscientious objection against military taxation:

'A group of conscientious objectors today lost a high court bid to stop their taxes being put toward military spending.

The "peace tax seven", backed by more than 50 supporters, asked Mr Justice Collins, sitting in London, for permission to seek a judicial review of a continuing government refusal to allow them to opt out.

But the judge dismissed their application and ruled their case was "bound to fail" in the domestic courts.

He said the case would have to be heard by the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.

The seven wanted to seek court orders forcing the Treasury to establish a special fund or account so that their money could be spent only on peaceful purposes.

Michael Fordham, appearing for the seven, argued that the Treasury's continuing refusal to set up such an account violated their rights under article 9 of the European convention on human rights, which protects the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Rejecting the argument, the judge agreed with Treasury lawyers, who said the European commission of human rights in Strasbourg had already decided the issue against conscientious objectors in cases heard in the 1980s.

The judge said: "I am persuaded that if this matter is to be reconsidered it must be reconsidered by Strasbourg."

But first the legal process had to be exhausted in the domestic courts, and the speediest way to achieve this was for him to refuse the seven leave to seek judicial review.

He added: "I am sure that if I granted leave, in the end this case would be bound to fail."'

Source: The Guardian, 25 July 2005,,12956,1535820,00.html

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