Miluše Kindlová, Ondřej Preuss
Author’s affiliation: Faculty of Law, Charles University in Prague

Conscientious objection in the context of compulsory vaccination (and beyond)

Jurisprudence 3/2017 Section: Articles Page: 17-30

Keywords: conscientious objection, civil disobedience, Constitutional Court, compulsory vaccination, test of applicability

Abstract: Conscientious objection and civil disobedience are important concepts that raise fundamental questions about the relationship between individuals and political authority. One of them is the problem of the legal status of conscientious objection – in legal theory, international law and in Czech constitutional law. A good opportunity to "demystify" the notion of conscientious objection is to study one possible field of its application, i.e. the legal regulation of compulsory vaccination, which has been subjected to review by top judicial bodies recently. The Czech Constitutional Court has formulated a special test of applicability of conscientious objection. This paper focuses not only on the relevant test but also on the much broader context of conscientious objection, the conditions of its permissibility and applicability. In addition, the paper proposes some more specific conclusions and recommendations with regard to both judicial review of conscientious objection and the approach of the legislator.