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The Interfaith Legal Advisers Network

Fourth Meeting (1st March 2010)

Attendees:  Jonathan Arkush (Jewish Board of Deputies); Paul Barber (Catholic); John R Bowen (visiting academic); Frank Cranmer (Quaker); Eithne D'Auria (Catholic);Norman Doe (Church in Wales); David Frei (Jewish Beth Din); Nick Grant (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints); Karen Jockelson (Equality and Human Rights Commission); Harpreet Kaur (Sikh); Eleanor Platt QC (Jewish Board of Deputies); Russell Sandberg (Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University); Guy Wilkinson (Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Interfaith Relations).

ILAN 2010


The fourth meeting of the Centre’s Interfaith Legal Advisers Network (ILAN) was held on 1st March 2010 at Lambeth Palace. 

The group, comprising of representatives of a number of different religious groups and a representative of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, examined recent and forthcoming developments in discrimination law sharing matters of common concern relating to religion in school and the workplace.  

The first session explored religion and belief discrimination in the workplace.  Chaired by Professor Norman Doe, the session included a paper from Russell Sandberg looking at the Court of Appeal decision in Ladele and other recent cases.  He contended that the reasoning and tenor of the Court of Appeal’s decision was of concern, portraying religious freedom so narrowly that it could easily be ‘trumped’ by other rights. A discussion followed as to the extent to which religious discrimination occurs and which faith practices are affected.

After lunch, Russell Sandberg chaired the second session which looked at exceptions afforded to religious groups. Norman Doe presented a paper on the current law and the changes included in the Equality Bill. Given that most of the contentious provisions in the Equality Bill had now been outvoted, the current exceptions gained much support from group members.    There was a discussion, however, as to whether the law should deal with such matters as ‘rights’ rather than ‘exceptions’, since the practice of giving ‘exceptions’ was seen as automatically put faith communities on the back foot. 

Norman Doe chaired the third session which focussed on discrimination in schools. Frank Cranmer gave a paper on the recent Supreme Court decision in the JFS case. The merits of the judgment were discussed together with the effect that the ruling would have on other faith communities.  Group members concluded that since Judaism and Sikhism alone are regarded to be both races and religions as a matter of law, then the decision would affect their faith schools the most. However, it was not clear how other religious groups would be affected.

The day ended with a planning meeting, chaired by Russell Sandberg.  Thanks were expressed to Canon Guy Wilkinson and the staff at Lambeth Palace for hosting the event.  The Network is also grateful to Sharron Alldred for the detailed organization of the meeting and to the Graduate Associates of the Centre for Law and Religion and the Network.  The event was funded by the subscriptions paid by the Graduate Associates.

It was noted that group members will be invited to the ‘Social Cohesion and Civil Law: Marriage, Divorce and Religious Courts’ Symposium which is being held in Cardiff in March 2011. Because of this, the next meeting of the Network will take place in December 2011.  Attention was also drawn to the ILAN webpages which includes weblinks to the laws and regulations of religious groups.  It was also noted that the Law and Religion Scholars Network webpages will also be of interest to ILAN members, particularly the Case Database which provides details of judgments delivered by domestic courts, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights concerning law and religion.


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