The settlement of a young Jewish couple was approved under the rabbinical court of Beth Din, which is said to be the first time that an English family judge has sent a divorce dispute to a religious court.
Mr Justice Baker quoted the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, who said in 2008 that ‘citizenship in a secular society should not necessitate the abandoning of religious discipline’.
Divorce: A settlement of a Jewish couple was approved under Beth Din. A file photo of a synagogue is pictured
The relevant case involved an Orthodox Jewish couple in their twenties, who had a religious wedding in 2006 and first lived in Israel, before returning to London for their first child to be born.
The couple were hoping to move to Toronto, Canada, but they broke up in 2009 after the birth of their second child. Disputes over access to the children led the father to begin court proceedings.
Judgement: Divorce cases could be settled by religious courts after a landmark High Court (pictured) ruling
Comments: Mr Justice Baker quoted the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams
The judge was asked to allow this and decided it would be better for their dispute to be heard in a Beth Din because it would be in line with their beliefs - and with laws in England and Wales.
‘The parties’ devout beliefs had been respected,’ the judge said.
‘The outcome was in keeping with English law, whilst achieved by a process rooted in Jewish culture to which the families belong.’
But the judge added that the Beth Din ruling cannot be binding because that would make it more important than a court judgement, which would be illegal, reported The Times.
Mr Justice Baker also ordered the husband to give his wife a Jewish divorce known as a Get.
This Get will avoid her being seen in the community as an ‘chained woman’ who cannot remarry.