Human rights

Protecting freedom - Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd and others (the ‘gay cake’ case)

A series of podcasts looking at three recent cases that had a material impact on freedom, rights and our democracy - for better or worse.

Ellie Cumbo and Robin Allen QC

In 2018, the Supreme Court of the UK decamped to Belfast for the first time in its history, to listen to the argument in the famous “gay cake” case.

The dispute was between a gay rights activist, who wanted to take a cake with “support gay marriage” inscribed on it to a party, and the evangelical Christian owners of a bakery, who declined his order.

How does the law resolve conflicts between different types of personal freedom, and what do cases like this say about people’s ability to live their lives as part of a wider community?

This first episode in a new series will look at these questions, as well as the vital role of the courts in making sure that the law is clear and workable.


Robin Allen QC is a leading equality law barrister based at Cloisters Chambers, having twice been Chambers and Partners' Employment Law QC of the Year. He appeared for Mr Lee in Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd and others, and is instructed to do so again when the case goes to the European Court of Human Rights.

Ellie Cumbo is head of public law at the Law Society.

Listen to the podcast:

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