Lillian Ladele, the Islington registrar who refused to carry out civil partnerships for gay couples, will hear whether her Court of Appeal bid has been successful before Christmas.

Ladele was threatened with the sack in 2007 for refusing to carry out the ceremonies due to her Christian beliefs.

An employment tribunal in 2008 had ruled in her favour but the council successfully appealed the decision at the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).

She took her case to the Court of Appeal last week and a judgement is expected in the coming weeks.

Her lawyers have argued she was the victim of a witch-hunt and was shunned by her colleagues.

Ladele and the Christian Institute, which is representing her, have said that if unsuccessful in this appeal, they will take the case to the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, and the European Court of Human Rights.

Islington council has also said it will continue to fight the case if Ladele wins the latest appeal.

Civil rights group Liberty is supporting the council. Karon Monaghan QC, acting for Liberty, told the Court of Appeal last week that the organisation was eager to assist the council to ensure Ladele’s case did not set a precedent for similar claims on the grounds on religious belief.

The Christian Institute believes this is the first case of a clash between religious rights and gay rights to have been considered at this level in England and Wales.