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Title: Locating religious liberty in the United Kingdom : religious exceptions and the role of reasonable accommodation
Author: Gibson, Matt
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 2365
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis is concerned with the special protection afforded religion in United Kingdom (UK) anti-discrimination law. Initial discussions centre on the historical and normative bases for religious liberty in the UK. These debates assess the evolution of domestic legal protection of religion and critique prevailing principles (in particular, the idea of human dignity) underpinning the variety of that protection. Attention is then focused on religious exceptions in UK anti-discrimination law and the practical extent to which they assist religious interests. It is clear that such special measures are aimed at religion as a collective; they do not enhance protection at the individual level. This deficit becomes more acute when considering the limiting effects of recent UK jurisprudence, specifically claims involving religion and discrimination across employment and the provision of goods and services. A particularly problematic trend exhibited in the case law is the courts’ approach to determining justification and proportionality in indirect discrimination. Accordingly, an argument is made for additional special protection. A duty of reasonable accommodation is proposed as a separate claim route in UK anti-discrimination law for religious individuals wishing to be excused from a rule. This is advocated in the field employment, it being noted that the field of goods and services poses challenges for the introduction of such a duty. Comparative analyses with Canada and the United States (US) expose two different models of reasonable accommodation. These are applied to high-profile UK cases featuring religion and indirect discrimination in employment, revealing how reasonable accommodation might have assessed those claims differently. It is submitted that the Canadian model provides a more sophisticated proportionality analysis than its US counterpart. This approach affords a more factually nuanced analysis in balancing the religious claim with a competing legitimate aim. It is contended that such a duty also coheres with both the theory of human dignity and the notion of equality as it features in the conceptual framework of anti-discrimination law.
Supervisor: McGoldrick, Dominic; Morris, Anne Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: KD England and Wales ; KDC Scotland