Case Relating to Certain Aspects of the Laws on the Use of Languages in Education in Belgium (The Belgian Linguistics Case)

6 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1968)

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Case Relating to Certain Aspects of the Laws on the Use of Languages in Education in Belgium (The Belgian Linguistics Case)

European Court of Human Rights
6 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1968)

Facts

Various French-speaking parents (plaintiffs) lived in areas of Belgium (defendant) outside of Brussels where there was no provision of education for children in French or such provision was inadequate. The parents filed six applications alleging a violation of Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the convention) and Article 2 of Protocol No. 1. The first sentence of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 offered the negative formulation that no one was to be denied the right to education. The second sentence provided that to the extent that the state performed educational functions and teaching, it was to respect parents’ rights to ensure that their children’s education conformed to their parents’ religious and philosophical beliefs. However, the second sentence did not indicate that a state must respect the linguistic preferences of parents. The European Commission on Human Rights (the commission) referred the case to the European Court of Human Rights (the court). Before analyzing the six questions referred by the commission, the court provided its interpretation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 in conjunction with Article 8 of the convention, which provided for respect for one’s private life, and Article 14 of the convention, which provided that convention rights were to be guaranteed without discrimination on enumerated grounds, including language. The court found no issue with most of the rules cited but did find a violation regarding access to schools providing instruction in French and Dutch in certain districts outside of Brussels.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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