Ruling sees Humanist Society maintain legal bid over religion in schools

The Court of Session in Edinburgh has backed a bid by the Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) to seek a judicial review into the rights of pupils to opt out of religious observance in Scottish schools.

Currently only parents can opt-out of religious observance on behalf of their children, although the Government has said in a private letter to the HSS that schools should take into account the views of pupils.

While Lord Armstrong’s decision at a preliminary hearing means claims that the current rules breach pupils’ human rights cannot be heard, the case will now go ahead on restricted grounds.

This will be on the basis of the HSS argument that the Scottish Government has acted unlawfully by failing to update its guidance.

Gordon MacRae, HSS chief executive, said: “The decision is a green light to continue our efforts to ensure young people in Scotland are able to enjoy the same rights as adults to freedom of thought, belief and religion.”