Family Law Blog

Children: religious upbringing

25 August 2012, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

Religion can be a contentious issue but, rather surprisingly, there have been few cases that have reached the courts.

One such case is Re N (A Child: Religion: Jehovah’s Witness) in which the father of a child disputed the right of the mother to allow or encourage the child to share her beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness.

The principles the court should apply in such circumstances were given as follows:

Neither parent has the right to dictate the religious upbringing of the child; a child should experience both religions as parental responsibility is equal. Where the practices of one parent conflict with the beliefs of the other the court can restrict the child’s involvement in such practices as long as it is justified and proportionate.

This case has been followed by another, Re C. In this case the court decided that the child was able to decide for herself whether she wanted to convert from Judaism to Christianity and it was not for either parent to decide.