Church Of Latter Day Saints Challenges Business Rates Decision In The House Of Lords

02 Jul 2008

Last week, the House of Lords heard argument in the Church of Latter Day Saints v Gallagher (Valuation Officer) case. The appellant church challenged a decision to refuse to exempt its Preston Temple from business rates. There is a statutory exemption for places of “public worship”, but the Valuation Officer ruled that the Temple, which is not open to the general public, does not qualify. The Church complained that this gives rise to discrimination, contrary to Article 14 ECHR (prohibition on discrimination on enjoyment of Convention rights), read together with Article 9 (freedom to manifest religion). It seeks to persuade the House of Lords to depart from an earlier decision of the House on the status of another of the Church’s temples, taken long before the Human Rights Act 1998, namely Henning v Church of Latter Day Saints [1964] AC 420.

Tim Ward was instructed by the Secretary of State.

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Tim Ward QC