My relief at the verdict for my son

By Father E, December 17, 2009

The father of the child at the centre of the JFS Supreme Court ruling who brought the original case against the school has spoken of his “relief” at this week’s decision.

The father, known as “E” for legal reasons, said: “I believe it’s important for people to know that the same Race Relations Act that provides such valued protection for Jews, as well as others, from ill-judged or misguided prejudices, also provides for the fair and equal treatment of all children within our educational system.


It's the right decision for the community

By Lucian Hudson and Danny Rich, December 17, 2009

Liberal Judaism wholeheartedly welcomes the Supreme Court decision.

Although arguably legally complex, this issue is for Liberal Jews a simple one: Jewish identity is a matter of sincere commitment, and genuine identification. Liberal Judaism has, therefore, right from the outset, supported those families who have felt discriminated against by the Jewish Free School (JFS) Board of Governors.


We will find the legislative remedy to this verdict

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, December 17, 2009

While disappointed that the Supreme Court, by the slimmest of majorities, was unable to find in favour of JFS, as a community we should be heartened by the fact that the court recognised the religious integrity of the school, the United Synagogue, the London Beth Din and our office.

The judges, without exception, were emphatic in denying that racism played any part in this case.

The most important outcome is a point made, one way or another, by eight of the nine judges, that there may be something wrong with race relations legislation as it stands.


Both glad and angry

By David Lightman, December 17, 2009

After battling to get my daughter into JFS for over five years, we now have victory. While there is a part of me that feels a huge sense of relief, my overriding sensation is one of sorrow, sadness and anger.

First, because things should never have gone to court, let alone the highest in the land.

For the past five years we tried to talk to the Chief Rabbi, the Beth Din and the Office of the Chief Rabbi, only to be met with silence. We would have chosen a private conversation, but the OCR and Beth Din ensured this could never happen.


The legal anomaly that split the judges

By Jon Benjamin, December 17, 2009

The popular perception is that judges make the law, but any first-year law student would quickly point out that this is not so. Judges interpret the laws made by Parliament and refer to past decisions either to support or distinguish their rulings.

Even so, the result can be that judges find themselves unable to work around the strict wording of a piece of legislation, and have to arrive at conclusions that seem unsatisfactory.

Perhaps no clearer example of this exists than this week’s decision of the Supreme Court in the JFS case.


JFS: ‘A Christian solution for a Jewish school’

By Joshua Rozenberg, December 17, 2009

Jewish schools have been operating an unlawful admissions policy for more than 30 years, the Supreme Court concluded this week.

In a 5-4 ruling, the UK’s most senior judges dismissed an appeal by JFS against a ruling that the leading Jewish school had broken the Race Relations Act when it refused to admit a boy whose mother’s conversion was not recognised by the Office of the Chief Rabbi.

The boy, known only by the initial M, was allowed to join the school after the earlier ruling by the Court of Appeal. He and his father are members of a Masorti synagogue in London.


Father at centre of JFS row expresses 'relief'

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2009

The father of the child at the centre of the JFS Supreme Court ruling has spoken of his “relief” at today’s decision.

The father, known as E for legal reasons, appealed to the High Court after his 12-year-old son (Child M) was refused a place at JFS because his mother was a non-Orthodox convert.

Today, JFS lost its appeal over its admissions procedure on the grounds of direct discrimination by a majority of five to four at the Supreme Court.


JFS: Jewish practice test 'lesser of two evils'

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2009

Rabbi Tony Bayfield, head of the movement for Reform Judaism, has hailed today’s Supreme Court decision which ruled that JFS had directly discriminated by refusing a place to a boy whose mother was a non-Orthodox convert.

He said: “We are delighted that the admissions policy of JFS - which actively de-legitimises our converts and our rabbis - has been confirmed as unlawful and unacceptable by the highest court in the land.


JFS: Lords say discrimination law is flawed

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2009

A majority of the lords who ruled against JFS suggested that the law on direct discrimination may be flawed.

JFS lost its appeal over its admissions procedure today on the grounds of direct discrimination by a majority of five to four. The appeal follows an earlier judgement by the Court of Appeal which found that JFS had directly discriminated by refusing a place to a boy (Child M) whose mother had converted under a non-Orthodox synagogue and was therefore not recognised by the United Synagogue.


JFS loses Supreme Court appeal

By Jessica Elgot, December 16, 2009

JFS has lost its Supreme Court Appeal over its admissions procedure.

The Supreme Court judges were split 5-4 in the court’s most high-profile case since it opened.

The judges' ruling means that no faith school can have an admissions policy based on halachic status.

JFS were contesting a Court of Appeal decision made on behalf of a boy who had originally been rejected because the Chief Rabbi does not recognise his mother’s non-Orthodox conversion.