UCL Faculty of Laws


In-person | Religious Expression and Exemptions in the Private Sector Workplace

08 December 2023, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

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This Inaugural Lecture will be on ‘Religious Expression and Exemptions in the Private Sector Workplace: Spotting Bias in Legal Reasoning' and delivered by Professor Myriam Hunter-Henin (Laws UCL)

Event Information

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UCL Laws


UCL Faculty of Laws
056: Bentham House
4-8 Endsleigh Gardens
United Kingdom

‘Religious Expression and Exemptions in the Private Sector Workplace: Spotting Bias in Legal Reasoning' delivered by Professor Myriam Hunter-Henin (Faculty of Laws, UCL)

Chair: Professor Horatia Muir Watt (SciencesPo Paris Law School)

About this Inaugural Lecture

Courts tasked to rule on religious freedom claims in the private sector workplace have been faced with the following challenge: too weak a protection of religious freedom and it will fall; too strong, and individual freedom will be stifled. In recent years, courts on each side of the Atlantic have respectively leant towards each of these two extremes. In Europe, courts have afforded minimalist and, as I will argue, too restrictive protection to religious interests. Whether out of deference for state constitutional traditions or economic interests, courts in Europe have often undermined the protection of religious freedom. Conversely, in the United States, the United States Supreme Court has, in recent cases, granted a maximalist and, as I will argue, excessive protection to religious interests. The lecture will demonstrate the flaws of each approach, with a focus on the European perspective. It will unravel the main three types of bias which underly these extreme positions, namely the state, the economic and the religious bias.

Watch the video directly on our YouTube Channel or view it below

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About the Speaker

Myriam Hunter-Henin is Professor in Comparative Law and Law & Religion at the Faculty of Laws at University College London. She was visiting professor in Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli (LUISS) (Rome, Italy) in 2020 and Université de Louvain-la-Neuve in 2022. 

Her work addresses the interaction and tensions between law and religion, issues of religious discrimination, theories of liberalism and French secularism (laïcité), in a comparative perspective and has prompted over 60 invitations to deliver papers and keynote lectures. Her latest monograph: Why Religious Freedom Matters for Democracy. Comparative Reflections from Britain and France for a democratic ‘vivre ensemble’, was published with Hart, Comparative Public Law Series in 2020.

Before joining University College London, Myriam was a research fellow at Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris, France) where she completed her PhD, leading to a monograph (Pour une redefinition du statut personnel, PUAM, 2004, awarded the Dennery Prize). She had previously graduated Cum Laude with a LLB degree from King’s College London and a Maîtrise de droit privé and Masters in Private International Law from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University.

About Current Legal Problems

The Current Legal Problems (CLP) lecture series and annual volume was established over fifty five years ago at the Faculty of Laws, University College London and is recognised as a major reference point for legal scholarship.

Book your place

You can attend this event in-person at UCL Faculty of Laws (Bentham House, 4-8 Endsleigh Gardens, London WC1H 0EG).

Book your place

Photo by James Henry on Pixabay

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