NI: QUB professor appointed to Ashers bakery legal team ahead of appeal

Professor Christopher McCrudden
Professor Christopher McCrudden

A leading legal academic in Northern Ireland has been appointed to the legal team of Ashers Bakery Company ahead of its appeal in a high-profile discrimination case.

Professor Christopher McCrudden, professor of human rights and equality law at Queen’s University Belfast, has joined the legal team led by David Scoffield QC.

Professor McCrudden is also William W Cook Global Law Professor at the University of Michigan Law School, and was professor of human rights law at the University of Oxford until 2011.

In May 2015, Ashers was ordered to pay out £500 after refusing to make a sponge cake with a slogan promoting same-sex marriage.

The company was taken to court by LGBT rights activist Gareth Lee, backed by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

An appeal against the ruling will be heard in the Court of Appeal over two days starting on Wednesday 3 February 2016.

The company is expected to appeal on the basis of article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression.

The McArthur family, who own Ashers, are receiving financial assistance during proceedings from the Christian Institute.

Christian Institute (CI) spokesman Simon Calvert told the Belfast Telegraph: “We are delighted to have such a formidable legal expert join an already strong team.

“Professor McCrudden’s experience and knowledge of human rights and equality law will be of incalculable assistance.”

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