Case of European Court of Human Rights, April 03, 2012 (case Manzanas Martín v. Spain)

Resolution Date:April 03, 2012
SUMMARY

Violation of Article 14+P1-1 - Prohibition of discrimination (Article 14 - Discrimination) (Article 1 para. 1 of Protocol No. 1 - Peaceful enjoyment of possessions Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 - Protection of property) Pecuniary damage - reserved (Article 41 - Pecuniary damage) Non-pecuniary damage - award (Article 41 - Non-pecuniary damage)

 
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Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 151

April 2012

Manzanas Martín v. Spain - 17966/10

Judgment 3.4.2012 [Section III]

Article 14

Discrimination

Difference in treatment between Evangelical Church ministers and Catholic priests as regards number of years of pastoral activity taken into account when calculating pension rights: violation

Facts – The applicant was a minister of the Evangelical Church from November 1952 until he retired in June 1991. During his years as a minister he received remuneration from the Permanent Commission of the Evangelical Church. However, the latter did not pay any social-security contributions on the applicant’s behalf as there was no provision for this in the legislation in force. The applicant had worked as an employee before being ordained, and had also been in paid employment for part of his time as a minister. When he applied to the National Social Security Agency (“the INSS”) for a retirement pension, his application was refused on the ground that he had not completed the minimum period of pensionable service. He subsequently brought proceedings against the INSS in the employment tribunal, alleging that he had been discriminated against in so far as Spanish law allowed Catholic priests to receive a retirement pension because they were covered by the general social-security scheme. In December 2005 the employment tribunal ordered the INSS to pay the applicant a retirement pension. It found that the national legislature had given Catholic priests preferential treatment as compared with Evangelical Church ministers.The INSS appealed against that decision. In July 2007 the High Court of Justice set the decision aside. The applicant unsuccessfully lodged an amparo appeal with the Constitutional Court.

Law – Article 14 of the Convention in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1

(a) Applicability – The Court had to determine whether, had it not been for the precondition in question, the applicant would have had a right, which he could assert before the domestic courts, to receive the pension in question. The applicant complained that he had been deprived of a retirement pension on discriminatory grounds, namely, his religious creed. Under domestic law, only Catholic priests could have their previous years of service taken into consideration in calculating the statutory minimum period of fifteen years necessary to...

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