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.


How religious hypocrisy can hurt

By Denise Latner, December 9, 2009

The following two real-life scenarios which, taken together, are incomprehensible to non-Jews, might help to explain to anyone still wondering why JFS has found itself battling in the Supreme Court.

Scenario 1: Woman A, from an Orthodox background, marries out. Gives birth to two daughters, neither of whom acquires any knowledge of Judaism. But Woman A’s daughters are halachically Jewish and therefore eligible to attend JFS and marry in an Orthodox shul.


Board fights 'racism' label in JFS hearing

By Simon Rocker, November 5, 2009

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling on the JFS admissions dispute before the end of the year.

In the court’s most high-profile case since it opened last month, nine judges will decide whether Jewish schools can allocate places according to whether a child’s parent is Jewish.

JFS has contested 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.


JFS is inclusive - exclusively so

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 5, 2009

Last week, in a packed Supreme Court, I heard learned counsel advance arguments against and for the view of the Court of Appeal that, in acting on an edict handed down by the United Synagogue’s Chief Rabbi and so refusing a child (“M”) admission to JFS, that school had breached the 1976 Race Relations Act.

That this is an important case needs no emphasising. But, if anyone doubted its significance, the presence in that court room of the world’s press (to say nothing of communal representatives of every shade of opinion) ought to have settled the matter.


Equality watchdog: JFS admissions are racist

By Simon Rocker, October 30, 2009

Britain’s equality watchdog has weighed into the JFS court case, arguing that it should remain unlawful for Jewish schools to select children on the basis of whether their parents are Jewish.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission told the Supreme Court this week that it considered using parental descent to decide admissions as racial discrimination.

The commission “considers that all rules based on a person’s descent from a particular class of persons are properly considered to be racial rules,” it stated in a written submission to the court.


JFS: What the lawyers said

October 29, 2009

The case For JFS

“The refusal to offer a place at JFS to M was on the ground that he is not Jewish as a matter of religion. JFS applies the criteria stated by the Chief Rabbi, who is not concerned with whether a child is Jewish as a matter of race, or ethnic origin, but is concerned with religious status.”

The case against JFS


Top judges ask who is a Jew as JFS hits Supreme Court

By Simon Rocker, October 29, 2009

Nine of the leading judges in England and Wales this week grappled with the fraught question of who is a Jew as the legal dispute over entry to JFS finally reached the highest secular court, the new Supreme Court.

A three-day hearing before a packed courtroom opened on Tuesday with far-reaching implications not only for other Jewish schools but potentially for those of some other faiths as well.


JFS: refusal was ‘religion not race’

October 28, 2009

Britain's leading Jewish school has told the Supreme Court that it had discriminated against a boy of 12 on religious rather than racial grounds when it denied him a place.

A crowded court heard Lord Pannick QC, claim that the boy was refused because the chief rabbi deemed his mother's conversion to Judaism invalid.

JFS had double the number of applicants to places, so children whose mothers were recognised as Jewish were given priority. The boy, known as M, was refused entry because he did not fall into this category, said Lord Pannick, who is representing JFS.


JFS to plead case at Supreme Court

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2009

The legal battle over entry to JFS will reach a climax next week when a three-day hearing begins at the new Supreme Court in London on Tuesday.

As many as nine of the 11 judges at the new court — which supersedes the House of Lords — are listed to hear the case, compared with the usual five for most cases.