Multiculturalism, Freedom of Religion, Equality, and the British Constitution: The JFS Case Considered

International Journal of Constitutional Law (I-CON), 2011

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 72/2010

38 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2010  

Christopher McCrudden

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law; University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: November 2010

Abstract

The JFS case involved a challenge by E, by way of judicial review, of the decision of a school in London, JFS (formerly the Jews’ Free School), to refuse to admit his son, M, to the school. JFS is a Jewish faith school. It is regarded as an excellent school academically, and is very popular among the Jewish community in London. It is consistently over-subscribed. It adopted as its over-subscription policy giving a preference in admission to those children recognized as Jewish by the Office of the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the Commonwealth (‘the OCR’). The OCR is recognized as, effectively, the head of the Orthodox branch of Judaism in Britain. Operating on an Orthodox interpretation of Jewish law ('halacha'), the OCR only recognizes a person as Jewish if that person is descended in the matrilineal line from a woman whom the OCR would recognize as Jewish, or that person has undertaken a course of conversion recognized by the Orthodox authorities. Applying this interpretation, M was not Jewish, according to the OCR. This admissions policy was held to constitute unlawful discrimination against M on the grounds of his ethnic origin.

Suggested Citation

McCrudden, Christopher, Multiculturalism, Freedom of Religion, Equality, and the British Constitution: The JFS Case Considered (November 2010). International Journal of Constitutional Law (I-CON), 2011; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 72/2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1701289

Christopher McCrudden (Contact Author)

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law ( email )

School of Law
Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland BT7 1NN
United Kingdom

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

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