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Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC and Naina Patel acted for Louisa Hodkin and the Church of Scientology Religious Education College in this challenge to the Registrar General’s refusal to register the chapel at the Church of Scientology, Queen Victoria Street, London as a “place of meeting for religious worship” for the purposes of section 2 of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855.  The registration had been sought to enable the chapel to be registered under section 26 of the Marriage Act 1949, such that Miss Hodkin and her fiancé could hold a legally recognised religious marriage there.

The Claimants argued, inter alia, that the refusal to register the chapel but to register Buddhist and Jain temples was, inter alia, discriminatory and contrary to both provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.  The High Court considered itself bound by the earlier Court of Appeal authority of R v Registrar General ex parte Segerdal [1970] 2 QB 697, in spite of the statutory developments, but granted the Claimants a leapfrog certificate under section 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1969 permitting them to apply to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal.

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