For many people, belonging to a faith community, being part of a religion, or holding and manifesting other spiritual or fundamental beliefs is an intrinsic part of their identity.
We live in a society where this can sometimes conflict with others’ beliefs and interests. The state can also withhold support from faith communities or even intervene intrusively in their affairs. Bindmans offers sensitive and respectful advice when such disputes arise and, when needed, has litigated for our clients to resolve them effectively in the UK’s highest courts.
Very few solicitors firms can offer genuine experience in navigating the difficult territory between privately held faith and belief and the exercise of power by a secular state. For Bindmans, however, this is nothing new. From running and winning test cases many years ago to establish that Sikhs were entitled to legal protection from discrimination at school, through to exposing the unfair effects of the UK’s Prevent strategy on Muslim communities, we have always taken a pioneering role in the courts.
They are very good at picking up niche work and have the full spectrum of experience to advise clients on all the issues.Chambers and Partners
Just as importantly we are the solicitors’ firm that faith schools, religious bodies and religious leaders turn to when seeking confidential and proactive advice or action to protect their rights and freedoms without ever needing to involve the courts. In cases like this our intervention has led to government policy being reversed, seemingly intractable disputes being resolved and unfairness corrected. Such cases never make the headlines, nor should they.
Regardless of their beliefs and whether they are an individual or organisation, our clients can expect expertise, careful thought and commitment to resolving their problems.
Examples of our cases:
- Challenging the targeting of Muslims in as part of the Prevent strategy
- Advising students on unlawful decision-making as part of Prevent
- Two successful challenges to the discriminatory withdrawal of free school transport to voluntary aided faith schools
- Overturning a discriminatory school admissions policy in the Supreme Court’s first case, prompting over 60 similar schools to change their policies
- Successfully defending a new faith school against objections to its establishment
- Advising a faith school on overcoming objections to planning permission
- Successfully challenging the Inter Faith Network’s membership ban on minority religions such as Druidism
- Assisting religious authorities on to resolve internal disputes through mediation
- Challenging bans on religious clothing and symbols, such as Sikh turbans and the hijab
- Advising on faith school funding
- Establishing that environmental beliefs are protected in the workplace under the Equality Act 2010
- Challenging the slaughter of a sacred black Friesian bull living in a Hindu community in Wales
- Establishing Sikhs were entitled to of the laws protection under the UK’s first anti-discrimination laws
Besides being thoughtful advisers and highly experienced litigators, a number of Bindmans’ lawyers are accredited mediators and so can offer confidential, sensitive and cost-effective help to resolve long-running conflicts and discrimination issues.