Donaldson v United Kingdom: No Right for Prisoners to Wear Easter Lilies

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This article is a discussion of the Donaldson v United Kingdom case which was ruled inadmissible by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011. This case concerned a prisoner in Northern Ireland who was ordered to remove an Easter lily, a symbol commemorating Irish Republican combatants who died during or were executed after the 1916 Easter Rising, from his clothing.

This case illustrates the willingness of the European Court to grant a margin of appreciation to Contracting States to decide on the display of contentious symbols. This article argues that the European Court were correct in doing this, but attests that consideration could have been given, when making their decision, to the effect of the display of other symbols in Northern Ireland.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2012

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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