Cults in the Court of Appeal: Re S

In a guest post, Elijah Z Granet discusses an interesting case on cults and child welfare.

In Re S (Parental Alienation: Cult) [2020] EWCA Civ 568, the Court of Appeal (McCombe, King, and Peter Jackson LJJ) has held that the imperative of removing a child from the reach of a destructive cult is sufficiently important to outweigh other competing interests in relation to the child’s welfare.

The facts

‘Lara’ (the pseudonym used by the CA) is a 9-year-old girl living with her mother, an adherent of Universal Medicine – a sect founded by the Australian Serge Benhayon, with its European headquarters in Somerset. The organisation’s bizarre beliefs include the importance of moving in an anti-clockwise direction [19], that consuming gluten will prevent reincarnation [35], and a cult of personality around Mr Benhayon [16]. Continue reading