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Percy v Church of Scotland Board of National Mission [2005] UKHL 73

A minister of the Church of Scotland was employed under a contract personally to execute work within the meaning in s 82(1), Sex Discrimination Act 1975. The minister’s sex discrimination claim against the church did not constitute a spiritual matter under s 3 Church of Scotland Act 1921, and accordingly the church did not have exclusive jurisdiction to deal with the claim.

13 January 2006

P appealed against a decision dismissing her sex discrimination claim against the Church of Scotland (C). P, a female, had been ordained as a minister of C. She was later appointed to the position of associate minister in a parish. Thereafter, an allegation of misconduct was made against her, namely that she allegedly had an affair with a married elder in the parish. The power of dismissal rested with the presbytery. P subsequently resigned as an ordained minister, which consequently brought to an end her appointment as associate minister. P complained of unlawful sex discrimination. The employment tribunal dismissed P’s application for want of jurisdiction. On appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that P’s discrimination claim constituted a spiritual matter under the Church of Scotland Act 1921, and that Parliament had allowed C an exclusive jurisdiction to deal with such matters. The EAT also held that the arrangement between P and C was not a contract for work and labou...

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