Monday 1 February 2010

Italy Asks for Referral to Grand Chamber of Crucifix Case

Just a few days before the three months deadline, Italy asked last week for referral of the case of Lautsi to the Grand Chamber of the Court. At the beginning of November last year, the Court had found that the compulsory presence of crucifixes in classrooms of public schools violated the ECHR. See my earlier comment here. Amongst others, the request for referral contends that the Chamber's judgment was in contradiction with earlier Court case-law, leaves too little margin of appreciation, and - following the reactions in many European countries - is obviously a serious issue of general importance (one of the criteria in Article 43 ECHR for referral). I think it would be very good if the Court, through the Grand Chamber, would make a new assessment of the case, since this is indeed a question with many ramifications and a very thoughtful (and maybe more pragmatic approach) is called for here.

Thank you to Nicola Bassan for pointing this out!