Can you believe it? Prof Jane Mair on The state of legal definition of religion and belief.

Glasgow Humanist Studies Hub

Research Seminars 2014-15

These research seminars bring together prominent academics in a variety of disciplines and stakeholders from the humanist, secularist, church and religious studies sectors, and from central and local government, public agencies and others. They focus on practical, conceptual, legal or theoretical issues facing the development of modern societies in regard to the changing nature of life stances, religion and secular society. The Seminars are open to all free of charge.

Inquiries are welcome to the organiser, Prof Callum Brown, School of Humanities, University of Glasgow;

Wednesday 22nd October 2014, Brogan Room 206, 2 University Gardens

“Can you believe it? The state of legal definition of religion and belief”

Jane Mair, Professor of Private Law University of Glasgow

To track numbers at attenders, please register on eventbrite:

Law and lawyers work within a framework of clearly understood concepts and carefully defined terms. But some terms are beyond definition – too difficult to define or so well understood that they need no definition. Until recently religion might have been thought to fall into that category and, in any case, it rarely came before the courts. Increasingly, however, religious claims and religious rights are being raised in court and judges have to grapple with previously undefined concepts. The relative familiarity of Christianity is being challenged by religious diversity and accepted understandings of what it means to be religious are increasingly questioned. Added to these uncertainties of religion are now added the even greater uncertainties of belief. This paper will explore definitional issues surrounding the concepts of religion and belief from a legal perspective.

Jane Mair is Professor of Private Law in the School of Law, University of Glasgow. She has research interests in the areas of family, employment and equality law; all areas where religion and belief have given rise to significant legal reform and jurisprudence in recent years. Her particular interest in the re-emergence of religion and belief in family law is reflected in Mair and Orucu (eds), The Place of Religion in Family Law: A Comparative Search, 2011, Intersentia.


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