But in a judgment released on Friday Lord Justice Singh and Mr Justice Whipple said her understanding of the law was “misguided” and the guidance was incorrect.
“What on its face looks like a general policy which applies to everyone equally may in fact have an unequal impact on a minority.
“In other words, to treat everyone in the same way is not necessarily to treat them equally.
“Uniformity is not the same thing as equality,” they said.
Jews and Muslims have a 3 day policy – the body should be in the ground within three days of death.
A coroner who operated a “cab rank” system for burials has been told by the High Court to drop her policy and release the bodies of Jews and Muslims first.
Judges said the “equality protocol” policy introduced by Mary Hassell, the senior coroner for inner north London, was “discriminatory” and “incapable of rational justification”.
The protocol said that “no death will be prioritised in any way over any other because of the religion of the deceased or family, either by the coroner’s officers or coroners.”
This meant cases were assessed and bodies released for burial by the coroner’s office in order of when they were received, taking no account of any religious requirements.
Thus that’s discriminatory.
Seems an entirely reasonable decision on the basis of simple pragmatism. Why not accommodate such beliefs after all?
The more general statement that uniformity is not equality needs to be carefully circumscribed though, doesn’t it?