Home International Cases R (E) v Governing Body of JFS & AnorR (E) v Governing Body of JFS & Anor

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
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R (E) v Governing Body of JFS & AnorR (E) v Governing Body of JFS & Anor

UKSC 15 (2009)

Facts of the case

E complained that the exclusion of his son, M, from admission to the appellant school had been racially discriminatory. The school applied an Orthodox Jewish religious test which did not count him as Jewish because of his family history.


Findings related to FoRB

FoRB Violation – Discrimination:  economic, political, criminal justice. Appeal dismissed.


One of the difficulties in this case lies in distinguishing between religious and ethnic status. One of the criteria of ethnicity identified by Lord Fraser is a shared religion. In the case of Jews, this is the dominant criterion. In their case it is almost impossible to distinguish between ethnic status and religious status. The two are virtually co-extensive. A woman who converts to Judaism thereby acquires both Jewish religious status and Jewish ethnic status.


For these reasons it is plain that the relevant characteristics of the relative to whom the maternal line leads are not simply religious. The origin to which the line leads can be racial and is, in any event, ethnic’.


Discrimination against a person on the grounds that he or she is, or is not, a member of either group is racial discrimination. JFS discriminates in its admission requirements on the sole basis of genetic descent by the maternal line from a woman who is Jewish, in the Mandla as well as the religious sense. Court held that they saw no escape from the conclusion that this is direct racial discrimination.