Religious Rights within the Family: From Coerced Manifestation to Dispute Resolution in France, England and Hong Kong, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Religious Rights within the Family

From Coerced Manifestation to Dispute Resolution in France, England and Hong Kong, 1st Edition

By Esther Erlings


280 pages

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Hardback: 9781138052185
pub: 2019-08-08
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It is often asserted that ‘A Family that Prays Together, Stays Together’. But what if a child no longer wishes to pray? This book analyses the law in relation to situations where parents force their children to manifest the parental religion. From thorough examination of international law it argues that, unlike what is generally believed, the human rights regime does not grant parents a right to impose manifestations of their religion on their children. Instead, it proposes to regard coerced manifestations as a limitation on children’s right to freedom of manifestation, based on national laws that give parents rights at the domestic level under principles such as parental responsibility. The book focuses on two aspects of States’ positive obligations in this regard. First, the obligation to provide a regulatory framework that can protect children’s right to freedom of manifestation, and to restrict limitations to those that are proportionate or "necessary in a democratic society". Second, to provide access to remedies, which it is argued should consist of access to a family-friendly infrastructure for dispute resolution available to both parents and children in conflict over religious manifestation. Both depend heavily on the way States balance power between parents and children at the national level. The book includes three case studies and social research of jurisdictions that offer different perspectives under the principles of parental authority (France), parental responsibility (England) and parental rights (Hong Kong).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. A Parental Right to Impose Religious Manifestations?

3. Children’s Right to Freedom of Manifestation

4. Coerced Manifestations as Limitations to Rights

5. Invoking and Enforcing Freedom of Manifestation Within the Family

6. Parentally Coerced Religious Manifestations in France

7. Parentally Coerced Religious Manifestations in England

8. Parentally Coerced Religious Manifestations in Hong Kong

9. Conclusions

About the Author

Esther Erlings is a Lecturer in Law at Flinders University (Australia). She has published in the areas of human rights (especially those of children), parental responsibility, and law and religion.

About the Series

ICLARS Series on Law and Religion

ICLARS Series on Law and Religion

The ICLARS Series on Law and Religion is designed to provide a forum for the rapidly expanding field of research in law and religion. The series is published in association with the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, an international network of scholars and experts of law and religion founded in 2007 with the aim of providing a place where information, data and opinions can easily be exchanged among members and made available to the broader scientific community ( The series aims to become a primary source for students and scholars while presenting authors with a valuable means to reach a wide and growing readership.

The series editors are currently welcoming proposals for this new series on any matter falling under ‘law and religion’ widely defined. Collections arising from important conferences and events are welcome as well as monographs by both established names and new voices (including monographs based on doctoral dissertations). Also of interest are interdisciplinary works and studies of particular jurisdictions.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Alternative Dispute Resolution
LAW / Civil Rights
LAW / Comparative
LAW / Family Law / Children
LAW / International
RELIGION / Education
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Marriage & Family
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Children's Studies