DEFEATING DISCRIMINATION – FEB 19
We’ve just been responding to a High Court judgement for Asserson and their client The Agudas Israel Housing Association (AIHA), which was founded to serve the UK’s Orthodox Jewish community.
In short, AIHA defeated an application for Judicial Review by a mother and her young son over its policy to allocate housing to Orthodox families. We managed to get this story featured in the national, legal and Jewish press – including these pieces in The Guardian, The Times, The Jewish News, and The Law Society Gazette.
Critically, the court recognised that Orthodox Jewish community members’ way of life requires them to live close by each other as a community – to the extent many decide to live in unsuitable properties rather than to move away from their community. It also recognised widespread and increasing overt anti-Semitism in society and prejudice, including in the private rental sector, against Orthodox Jews on account of their appearance, language and religion.
Elliot Lister, partner at law firm Asserson, representing AIHA, said:
“The Divisional Court has today endorsed the critical work of a charity established to fight anti-Semitism and discrimination in the face of allegations that it itself discriminates. The Jewish community and even more so the obviously Orthodox Jewish community, faces an ongoing battle against anti-Semitism, recognised by their Lordships as widespread and increasing and overt.
The Orthodox Jewish community’s members’ way of life requires them to live close by each other as a community, to the extent that many prefer to stay in unsuitable properties than to move away from their community. I am grateful that one of the highest courts in the land has recognised the features of the Orthodox Jewish way of life and the disadvantages that are engendered by that way of life. More importantly the court has confirmed that the disadvantages can be legitimately addressed by a charity founded for that purpose, without fear of censure for discrimination.
For an organisation that was established to counter discrimination and has that as its mission, this is a particularly important judgment.”