UK
11/12/2013 03:29 GMT | Updated 11/12/2013 08:03 GMT

Scientology Battle In Supreme Court Over Right To Marry In Chapel

A woman fighting to marry in a Church of Scientology chapel is set to discover whether she has won a battle in the UK's highest court.

Scientologist Louisa Hodkin took her fight to the Supreme Court after a High Court judge ruled that services run by Scientologists were not ''acts of worship''.

Five Supreme Court justices analysed the case at a hearing in London in July and are due to announce their decision.

alessandro calcioli

Louisa Hodkin and fiance Alessandro Calcioli, the couple who want to marry in a Church of Scientology chapel

Hodkin wants to marry Alessandro Calcioli in a Church of Scientology chapel in central London.

She started legal action after the registrar general of births, deaths and marriages refused to register the London Church Chapel for the solemnisation of marriages under the 1855 Places of Worship Registration Act - because it was not a place for ''religious worship''.

She lost a High Court fight in December last year.

Judge Mr Justice Ouseley said the issue was considered by the Court of Appeal in 1970. He said appeal judges decided that Scientology services ''did not involve acts of worship''.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles welcomed Mr Justice Ouseley's ruling.

Pickles said the Church of Scientology might have been entitled to ''tax breaks'' - because of rules governing places of public worship - if a decision had gone in its favour.

He said taxpayers would not want ''such a controversial organisation'' to get "special'' treatment.

The judge said he was bound by that decision and had to dismiss Hodkin's challenge, but he said Supreme Court justices should consider the question of whether Scientologists worshipped.

He said, because the Supreme Court was a more senior court than the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court justices might take a different view.

Hodkin, in her 20s, argued that the 1970 ruling should not be binding because Scientologist beliefs and services had evolved during the past four decades.

She said services were ''ones of religious worship'' and likened Scientology to Buddhism and Jainism.