25th April 2014

Jedi Faith – May the Force be with you!

Recent reports have suggested that a group of four inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison Isis in South London are threatening to sue the prison service.  The inmates allege that the prison service has discriminated against them by failing to allow them to practice their Jedi religion freely.  The prison service acknowledged that Jedi was a religion recognised on the UK census but indicated that it was recognised by the National Offender Management Service (“NOMS”).  NOMS does recognise Rastafarianism as a religion.  According to the 2012 census, Jedi is cited as the seventh most popular religion in the UK.

The Equality Act 2010 makes discrimination base on religion or belief unlawful.  There is no definitive list of religions or belief systems which are recognised by the law.  Given that beliefs are often extremely personal to the individual holding them, it makes this a very difficult to area in which to legislate.  Previous case law has formulated a set of criteria for determining whether a belief is recognised to the extent of being legally protected:-

  1. The belief must be genuinely held;
  2. It must be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available;
  3. It must be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour;
  4. It must attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance; and
  5. It must be worthy of respect in a democratic society, be not incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has previously stated that “belief in the supreme nature of the Jedi Knights” would fail at least four of these five limitations on what amounts to a belief.  On that basis, the force may not appear to be strong for the Jedis.

Jack Boyle
Senior Solicitor – Employment Law

The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.

Blackadders takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the content of this site is accurate and up to date. The site is not, however, intended as a substitute for seeking legal or other professional advice but rather as an informative guide to the services provided by Blackadders and topical legal developments. Site visitors should always seek advice tailored to their specific situation. Consequently, Blackadders accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by anyone acting or failing to act on the basis of information contained on this site. Downloading of material contained on this site is at the user’s own risk and all necessary virus checks must first be carried out by the user. Blackadders is not responsible for the material found on any web sites linked to this one and links to this site may only be made with Blackadders prior consent.

Copyright

Blackadders owns the copyright in this blog and all material contained on it. The material on this site may be downloaded for personal use only and must not be altered. Otherwise, Blackadders’ written consent is required before any material on this site is reproduced, copied or transmitted in any way.

Privacy Statement

Information passed to us via this site is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties except if authorised by you or required by law.

© Blackadders LLP 2022

Members of the Law Society of Scotland.

Blackadders Solicitors is a trading name of Blackadders LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in Scotland No SO301600 whose registered office is 30 & 34 Reform Street, Dundee, DD1 1RJ. Reference to a ‘partner’ is to a member of Blackadders LLP.

Back to Business Legal News from Blackadders Solicitors