The Peace Tax Seven

July 19, 2008


I’m taking a break from my soap box this week and considering I’m going to be flat broke for the next few months, I don’t want to think about mortgages, savings or pensions. So here’s something else to think about … the Peace Tax Seven

The Peace Tax Seven comprise seven individuals who are withholding a proportion of their tax to express a conscientious objection to contributing to military expenditure through the tax system.

According to their website ( http://www.peacetaxseven.com/legal.html ):

“The PEACE TAX SEVEN are taxpayers with a conscientious objection to contributing to military expenditure through the tax system. They want to pay their taxes in full, while diverting the appropriate proportion of their tax contributions away from military expenditure and towards peace – building and international development.

In previous years there have been a number of attempts to uphold the right to freedom of conscience regarding military tax expenditure, one (in 1993) involving a future member of the PEACE TAX SEVEN, Brenda Boughton.

All of these were rejected by the courts. However, we believe that, since 2nd October 2000, the European Convention on Human Rights (http://www.bbc.co.uk/crime/law/echr.shtml ) under the terms of the 1998 Human Rights Act, has vouchsafed freedom of conscience in a new, direct and specific way. This case is therefore the first time that the right to freedom of conscience has been asserted in these terms, relating to UK tax law on military expenditure. The novelty of the legal situation is the legal basis for this case.

In a word, the legal case the PEACE TAX SEVEN are making is that, in principle, UK law recognises freedom of conscience as a basic human right, in such as way as to empower individual taxpayers to deny the use of their taxes to prepare for war. However, current UK tax policy refuses to recognise this right. We believe that this refusal itself breaches UK law. We are seeking a legally binding declaration to this effect by means of a judicial review in the High Court. Such a declaration would place the UK government under the obligation to take further action to resolve the issue.”

Visit their website and make your own mind up:


the Money Lion supports them!

And if you’re in London on Monday 25th July – why not go an support them?


- at this most critical Point

The Peace Tax Seven are to present arguments at the Royal Courts of Justice, London on Monday 25th July. The group applied for permission for a full judicial review hearing on the right to conscientious objection to taxes going towards military spending. The challenge is based on the right to freedom of religion, conscience and belief under Article 9 of the European convention on Human Rights. Although Judge Wilson refused permission, he has allowed the group to renew their application and argue that this is a case which merits a full hearing. A 2 hour hearing has been allowed as opposed to the conventional 30 minutes for such an application. This will take place on 25 July any time after 10.30 am and will most likely be in the afternoon. If the group’s arguments are accepted, permission will be granted for a full judicial review hearing.

In his observations, Judge Wilson stated that our case was ‘unarguable,’ quoting decisions of the European Commission of Human Rights from the 1980s to support the view that our circumstances do not engage Article 9 of the European Convention. This decision ignores our legal arguments based on more recent developments in human rights law and that the Convention is a “living instrument” – that is, its interpretation is subject to change and development over time.

Our campaign is now at a crucial stage. We need to rally all the supporters we can to come to this hearing in order to impress on the judge that there is considerable public interest in this case. As our lawyer Phil Shiner has put it: ‘As I understand the position, you all have plans to have the court room full of supporters. I thoroughly approve of that plan and think that it will be helpful to make the point that there is at stake here a point of public interest.’ If we can pack the court and have a peaceful demonstration outside, so much the better. So we are calling on everyone to come to the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL on that day. We cannot stress enough, how important it is to have the physical presence of as many people as possible in and outside the court. This is our only chance to get our case heard”


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