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Published on July 28, 2021 by Holly Porter

Welcome to the Lawyer Portal Monthly News for July 2021. This month, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that private employers can prevent employees from displaying religious symbols, a multi-million-pound case has reached the high court over the Grenfell disaster, Angelina Jolie gets presiding judge removed in ongoing custody battle with Brad Pitt, and France have ratified a controversial “health pass” which will be needed to enter a number of public places.

ECJ Rules On Religious Symbols at Work 

In a controversial move, the European Court of Justice have ruled that EU companies can prohibit employees from wearing religious symbols if there is a “genuine need”. The court said that such a ban on symbols can be justified by an employer’s desire to pursue a policy of neutrality regarding their users.

The original case itself was brought by two German Muslim women who were asked to and subsequently refused to remove their headscarves at work. The German Court then referred the dispute to the ECJ for guidance. The court reiterated that there must be a “genuine need” and defined this as “legitimate wishes of customers” and “adverse consequences that the employer would suffer without the policy.”

Grenfell Cladding Manufacturer Faces Multi-million-pound Compensation Claim

A multi-million-pound case for compensation brought by more than 800 bereaved and survivors of the Grenfell disaster in 2017 reached the High Court this month. Victims of the fire have filed civil claims against 23 defendant organisations including the maker of the combustible cladding and landlord of the building. This will be the first time that the cladding manufacturer and contractor have faced UK court action over the disaster.

One of the victims stressed that the case was more about receiving some limited accountability rather than the money available. A number of first responders – police officers and firefighters – who attended the blaze have also brought claims from personal injury to psychiatric injury.


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Judge Disqualified in Angelina Jolie Child Custody Dispute

Angelina Jolie has made a significant move in her divorce battle with Brad Pitt after a California judge agreed that the private judge involved in their child custody battle should be disqualified. It was found and agreed that the private judge failed to sufficiently disclose business relationships with Mr. Pitt’s legal team. It was commented that the recent business relationships with the team may cause “an objective person…to entertain doubt as to the judge’s ability to be impartial.” The couple’s choice to hire a private judge was a move to protect the privacy of the proceedings.

It is noted by CBS news that the custody decision was almost complete, but this move may mean that it has to be reconsidered.

Macron Ratifies a ‘Passe Sanitaire’ 

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced this month that the French courts have ratified a “health pass” for access to larger venues which may be extended to use in restaurants and shopping centres in August.

The “passe sanitaire” will entail proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from Covid to enter some venues, for e.g. cinemas. The plan to introduce this pass as well as compulsory vaccination for those who work in healthcare have proved controversial in France with protests against the new rules leading to demonstrators deeming it “health dictatorship.” However, a majority of the French people support the plan to prevent another French lockdown.

Words by: Alicia Gibson 

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