Conscience and the moral foundations of human rights

Forthcoming conference 18th January 2020

Join the discussion

Lillian Ladele worked as a registrar for marriages, births, and deaths for the London Borough of Islington. Following the introduction of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, Islington designated all of its existing registrars as civil partnership registrars as well as marriage registrars. Ladele objected to being required to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies on account of her Christian beliefs. Islington disciplined and threatened to dismiss her. Ladele claimed that this treatment was unlawfully discriminatory, and that she should not be required to perform civil partnerships.

The matter was heard by the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeals Tribunal, the Court of Appeal and finally the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The majority decision of the ECtHR found in favour of Islington but two judges on the ECtHR dissented, arguing that Ladele was discriminated against because her objections in conscience were not respected.
With the assistance of Judge De Gaetano, one of the dissenting judges on the ECtHR, this conference will look at where the rights of conscience stand in the light of Lillian Ladele’s case.

The programme

3:30 pm Registration and tea/coffee

4:00 pm Eweida v United Kingdom: The Facts Joe Cooper

4:20 pm Eweida v United Kingdom: an explanation of the Dissenting Judgement of Judges De Gaetano and Vucinic in the ECtHR Vincent De Gaetano

5:15 pm What is Conscience? Russell Wilcox

5:45 pm Q&A

6:30 pm Drinks

7:00 pm Dinner A three-course, sit-down meal served in the dining room of Thornycroft Hall

8:30 pm Plenary discussion hosted by His Hon Judge Thomas Teague QC

9:00 pm End

Days until this event








Cost is £50 for the conference payable on application below.

Students have a concessionary fee of £20  payable on application below.

Students may also request free transport from Manchester to Thornycroft Hall. Once you submit the application form you will have the opportunity to register for free transport.


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Event Speakers

Thomas Teague - Chair

Thomas Teague - Chair

Queen’s Counsel

His Hon Judge Thomas Teague QC was called to the Bar in 1977 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2000. In 2006 he was appointed a Circuit Judge. He is assigned to the Northern Circuit and sits at the Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts in Liverpool. In 2016 the Home Secretary appointed him Chairman of the Public Inquiry into the death of Anthony Grainger. The Inquiry’s report was published in July 2019.

Joseph Cooper - Speaker

Joseph Cooper - Speaker

Associate solicitor

Joseph Cooper is an Associate solicitor at an international law firm in Manchester and practises predominantly in the field of commercial litigation. He graduated from the University of Leeds in 2013 and completed his LPC at the University of Law in Manchester in 2016.

Vincent De Gaetano - Speaker

Vincent De Gaetano - Speaker


Judge Vincent De Gaetano, Section President, European Court of Human Rights 2018-2019, Judge, European Court of Human Rights 2010-2019, Chief Justice Emeritus, Malta.

Russell Wilcox - Speaker

Russell Wilcox - Speaker


Dr Russell Wilcox is the joint editor with Jacqueline Laing of The Natural Law Reader published by Wiley Blackwell. He has a PhD from the University of London and is a barrister at 10 Kings Bench Walk.

About Cliff Farrand

I am founder of a web development company called Webformity. I work with lots of commercial clients and specialise in developing school websites. A former lecturer in Information technology and more recently Head of global web services for Promethean. I enjoy walking and recently undertook the hobby of photography. I am married to Yvonne and have a daughter called Natasha.

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