Skip to main content

A General Right to Conscientious Exemption: Beyond Religious Privilege

When: Monday, February 22, 2021, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Where: Online, Zoom

The IHSS and QMUL Centre for Law, Democracy, and Society (CLDS) are pleased to announce the launch of 'A General Right to Conscientious Exemption: Beyond Religious Privilege' by Dr John Adenitire, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London.

The book argues that there is in the US, Canada and UK, a general right to conscientious exemption available to a person who objects to any legal obligation based on a religious or non-religious conscientious belief. The book provides a liberal defence of this right and argues that it should be considered a defining feature of a liberal democracy. The book suggests how the general right should be balanced against important rights, such as non-discrimination based on sexual orientation.


Leading scholars from the US, Canada and UK will provide critical comments on the book followed by a response by the author. We will be joined by:

Dr Ilias Trispiotis (chair) is Associate Professor in the School of Law at the University of Leeds. Dr Trispiotis's research interests span the fields of international and European human rights law, equality law and legal theory.

Dr John Adenitire is Strategic Lecturer in the School of Law and a Fellow of the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. Dr Adenitire's research has focused on the legal right to exemption for religious and non-religious conscientious objectors from a wide variety of legal obligations, including anti-discrimination norms. 

Prof. Robin Fretwell Wilson is the Director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs for the University of Illinois System. Prof. Fretwell Wilson specializes in family law and health law, and her research and teaching interests also include biomedical ethics, law and religion, children and violence, and law and science.

Dr Myriam Hunter-Henin is Reader in Law and Religion and Comparative Law in the Faculty of Laws at University College London. Dr Hunter-Henin's research addresses the interaction and tensions between law and religion in a comparative perspective

Prof. Kent Greenawalt is University Professor in the Columbia Law School at Columbia University. Prof. Greenawalt teaches and writes about legal interpretation, discrimination, church and state, freedom of speech, and criminal responsibility.

Prof. Richard Moon is Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law at the University of Windsor. Prof. Moon's research focuses on freedom of expression and freedom of conscience and religion.

Prof Yossi Nehushtan is Professor of Law and Philosophy in the School of Law at Keele University. Prof. Nehushtan’s areas of research are legal theory, political theory, public law, human rights law, and law and religion.

Back to top