Christian Life 

Barrister defends Christians in courts

Barrister Paul Diamond who has defended Christians in recent high-profile court cases has written publicly about "a special animosity reserved for this [Christian] faith".

Ed foreword:
Regarding a recent case whereby a Christian couple were ruled against as foster parents because of their beliefs relating to homosexuality Paul Diamond, the barrister who defended the John's, has written to the magazine Standpoint.
In defending his statements in court he also expresses the view that Lord Justice Munby's extremely negative statements relating to the Christian faith will not be seen as "mere rhetoric".


Christianity and the High Court

letter to Standpoint Magazine
from Paul Diamond

reproduced with author's permission
Paul Diamond (second left)
Paul DiamondI must take issue with Joshua Rozenberg's analysis of the decision of the High Court in the case of Johns against Derby City Council (Jurisprudence, April).
The decision by a powerful divisional court (Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson) is never an academic (or student) exercise beyond jurisdiction.
Normally judicial review is heard by a single judge without a Lord Justice. Whilst a direct decision on the facts of the case was not made, their "opinions" will be followed by other judges.

The court clearly stated that views held by persons evincing an objection or disapproval of same-sex relationships may well conflict with a local authority's duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The court went further to hold that it was lawful to require "positive attitudes to be demonstrated towards homosexuality".

It is a brave barrister who argues in court that Lord Justice Munby's views are mere rhetoric!

I accept that criticism was made of me. My comments that "something is very wrong with the legal, moral and ethical compass of our country" and that Christian believers should not be forced "into the closet" were robustly rejected, but I feel my point was made by the fact that the submission of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, namely that the State had a duty to protect vulnerable children from becoming "infected" with Judaeo-Christian values on sexual ethics, might have raised criticism. It didn't and I raised it expressly in court.

However, the case is illustrative of wider issues. It is but yet another case on the marginalisation of Judaeo-Christian values by court fiat.

Seeking justice a barren experience

In all too many instances, the attempt by Christians to seek justice in the courts is a barren experience, almost as if a special animosity is reserved for adherents of this faith. In recent years, I have argued cases that I would have thought of as unthinkable back in 1997.

In the British Airways cross case, our national flag-carrier permitted the wearing of the hijab, the Sikh turban and the Siska Hindu ponytail, but banned the wearing of a small cross around the neck, the size of a sixpence.

The court held that there was no discrimination against Christians because a Muslim would have received the same treatment and been similarly disciplined for wearing a cross. Astonishingly, the Appeal Court in the case required evidence that the cross was a symbol won by Christians as part of their faith. The evidential requirement for this is now so complex it is likely never to be satisfied.

In another case, an employee was disciplined for expressing an unacceptable view: namely his support for marriage (in a private conversation with a fellow employee) as this discriminated against cohabitation. In another, a nurse made the serious violation of asking a patient if she wanted a prayer. Churches have been served noise abatement notices for singing hymns too loudly.

I could go on about the countless other cases where no accommodation of religious conscience is permitted for marriage registrars, or bed-and-breakfast owners.

It is true that these court decisions have been supported by Parliament in the sense that there appears to be no appetite to reverse them. However, that many of these issues are being fought out in the courts is but a recognition of the significant transfer of power away from Parliament to the courts, by way of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Paul Diamond
Barton, Cambridge

Paul Diamond1After completing legal education and pupilage, Paul became Barrister to the Keep Sunday Special Campaign in 1988.

He was the advocate behind the "Bob George" case which attracted national media attention. This early career decision gave insight into cases on European law and on civil rights (with an emphasis on religious rights).

He took the 1997 banning of the Pro-Life Alliance Party Election Broadcast to the European Court. The Pro-Life Alliance was denied a Public Electoral Broadcast as the showing of an abortion would be 'distressing' to women who had had an abortion.

His subsequent career has increasing concentrated upon the subject of religious freedom.
For further details of the cases he has been involved in  <click here>.

"I would like to express my gratitude to Paul Diamond, barrister for his legal work in securing my right to conduct a mission in London. ...The situation in the United Kingdom is disturbing and we must support the work of Paul Diamond to secure religious liberty in that Great Land."
Nicki Cruz

Christians Together/Paul Diamond, 23/05/2011

NOTICE: - The 'Response' facility on some articles may be restricted to CT site members. In these circumstances comments/questions from non-site members should be sent to the Editor by e-mail: editor<atsign>

Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Christian Life > Barrister defends Christians in courts