Home > State support > Denmark > 2007-11-05 - Supreme Court of Denmark, n. 165/2006, U.2008.342H

2007-11-05 - Supreme Court of Denmark, n. 165/2006, U.2008.342H

State support · Denmark · Faith-Based Organisation · Freedom of religion · Tax

Birth registration before Church and Church tax are not in breach of freedom of religion

Key facts of the case - Father (F) is a Roman-Catholic and he registered his child’s birth at the church office in his local parish to gain a birth- and christening certificate.
F then brings the Ministry Ecclesiastical Affairs (M) to court, claiming his religious freedom had been offended due to him having to seek registration in the church book. F also claimed an infringement of his rights and demanded compensation, in the form of tax returns, due to some of his tax money going towards sponsoring the state Church.

Main reasoning of the court - The Court found that the task of registration has no religious connotations and is merely a bureaucratically task to be performed. Furthermore, the state Church provides non-religious services such as civil unions and burial detail obligations. The High Court denied that there was a breach of Article 9 ECHR related to religious freedom.
The Court also denied a return of F’s tax money. It was reasoned that of the regular tax paid by F, only a fraction of it was given to support the Church. In 2004, the state subsidy to the church merely accounted for 11% of the church income – and that amount covers the non-religious activities services provided by the Church.