Grand Chamber Judgment – Lautsi and Others v Italy

18 March 2011 – Strasbourg 

Laura Asioli

In today’s Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Lautsi and Others v. Italy (application no. 30814/06), which is final, the European Court of Human Rights held, by a substantial majority (15 votes to two), that there had been: “No violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (right to education) to the European Convention on Human Rights. As discussed in the previous article published on the Strasbourg Consortium website on 9 March 2011, the case concerned the presence of crucifixes in State-school classrooms in Italy, which, according to the applicants, was incompatible with the obligation on the State, in the exercise of the functions which it assumed in relation to education and to teaching, to respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in accordance with their own religious and philosophical convictions.

In its decision, the Grand Chamber stated that while the crucifix was above all a religious symbol, there was no evidence before the Court that the display of such a symbol on classroom walls might have an influence on pupils.