This case concerned the treatment of Mormon Church buildings for the purposes of non-domestic rating. The House of Lords held that the Mormon Temple was liable for non-domestic rates and declined to overrule its decision on the same point given in 1964. The House of Lords accepted the Valuation Officer’s case that a Mormon Temple is not a “place of public religious worship” for the purposes of the exemption from non-domestic rates in the Local Government and Finance Act 1988 because entry to the Temple is limited to Patrons of the Temple.
The House of Lords also held that the 1988 Act did not discriminate against the Mormons on the ground of their religion. The majority of the House agreed with Lord Hoffmann’s view that the loss of financial advantage arising from the treatment of the Temple for the purposes of rating was too remote from interference with the freedom of religion of worshippers, and therefore Article 9 of the ECHR was not engaged, although Lord Scott expressed some unease at that conclusion. All their lordships agreed that even if there was indirect discrimination, that discrimination could be justified.
Tim Mould QC and Dan Kolinsky acted for the successful respondent, the Valuation Officer.
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