Jessica is a law lecturer at the Open University. She took her undergraduate law degree at Durham University and her masters in international human rights law and European Union law at Bristol University. She studied theology at the Open Theological College and theology of law at Spurgeon’s College. She qualified as a Solicitor in 1991 and transferred to the bar in 2016. She has worked as a law reporter for the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales in the Chancery, Queen’s Bench and Administrative Divisions of the High Court as well as in the Court of Justice of the European Union. She has taught EU external relations law at Bristol University and a level 1 module, Rules, rights and justice, a level 2 module, Understanding law covering English legal systems and EU law and Business, Human Rights Law and Corporporate Social Responsibility a Master's mdoule, at the Open University. She gained her Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2015 and Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2016.
Jessica’s area of research interest is the synthesis between law & religion studies, constitutional theory and philosophical theology. This involves research into freedom of thought conscience and religion and related fundamental rights and the legal scope of religious freedom in public life. She is currently working on the theoretical basis for freedom of thought conscience and religion in a comparatiave theological context with particular focus on non-Western liberal democratic contexts. As Associate Editor of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion she has a worldwide brief to report cases and publish case comments on cases of constitutional significance in the field of law and religion.
Jessica is Director of the Project on Interdisciplinary Law and Religion Studies at the Open University: http://law-school.open.ac.uk/research/PILARS. This is a reserach hub for law and religion academics.
Jessica carries out scholarship research in the field of online learning having led a team to win the Stan Marsh prize for best paper at the Association of Law Teachers’ Conference 2016. Her current reserach interests focus on employability. Her current research explores the impact of extra-curricular activities on students career prospects. She is also researching interdisciplinary teaching and learning in the context of interdisciplinary modules.
Her published works include numerous law reports and case notes for the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (2000-2013) and the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion (2012-to date). Her case comments cover law and religion issues including “The Brüstle and Eli Lilly cases: Creation - God or humankind?” (2012) OJLR 1(2): 518; “The Exercise of Religious Freedom in a Commercial Context: Preddy v Bull and other cases. (2014) OJLR 3(3): 512; “Parillo v Italy: Is there life in the European Court of Human Rights?” (co-authored with Professor Simon Lee) (2016) OJLR 5(1):162; Lee v McArthur: a proportionate restriction on religious freedom rights?  PILARS CC3; A hoped for coherent and permissive EU religious freedom policy: the Bougnaouiand Achbita cases  PILARS CC1; Neutrality in the business sphere: an encroachment on rights protection and state sovereignty? (2018) OJLR 7(2):_.
She is co-editor with Dr Andrea Pin and Professor Frank S. Ravtich of the book 'Law, Religion and Tradition' for which she has authored a chapter on "Tradition as a Peacebuilding Tool". Springer, forthcoming 2018.
She is author of the book chapter 'A theological justification for freedom of religion and belief as a universal human right' in Bunikowski, Dawid and Puppo, Alberto (2020) 'Why Religion? Towards a Critical Philosophy of Law, Peace and God'. Springer, Switzerland.
In the field of the scholarship of teaching and learning she has published “The Superfoods of Online Learning”: Journal of Commonwealth law and legal education Vol 11.1 Autumn 2016.
Jessica is currently module co-chair of the OU masters degree module W822 'Business Law, Social Responsiblity and Human Rights' and co-chair of the undergraduate module W203: public and criminal law.
Jessica is an APPLAUD mentor, mentoring colleagues for FHEA and SFHEA.
Jessica is an associate editor of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion She is a member of the Law and Religion Scholars Network and the International Consortium of Law and Religion Scholars. She is on the advisory council of the The McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics & Public Life, University of Oxford.
She enjoys working with the highly successful OU student law society mooting team.
Jessica works with visiting academic Professor Zachary Calo, Hamad Bin Halifa University, Qatar.
She is a member of Inner Temple.
Jessica is a member of the International Consortium of Law and Religion Scholars and the Law and Religion Scholars Network
She is currently a PhD (by published works) candidate at Leiden University, The Netherlands
Contemporary Influences on the Role of Imams in Britain: A Critical Analysis of Leadership and Professionalisation for the Imamate in 21st Century Britain (2021-09-15)
Hough, Christine Victoria; Abbott-Halpin, Edward; Mahmood, Tariq and Giles, Jessica
Religions, 12, Article 771(9)
The Supreme Courts’ Icing on the Trans-Atlantic Cakes (2020-02)
Ahdar, Rex and Giles, Jessica
Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 9(1) (pp. 212-228)
Neutrality in the Business Sphere—An Encroachment on Rights Protection and State Sovereignty? (2018-06-01)
Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 7(2) (pp. 339-346)
Religious Freedom in Global Context (2018)
Implicit Religion, 21(3) (pp. 239-270)
Parrillo v Italy : Is There Life in the European Court of Human Rights? (2016-02-01)
Giles, Jessica and Lee, Simon
Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 5(1) (pp. 162-167)
The Superfoods of Online Learning: Threshold Concepts and Threshold Skills (2016)
Journal of Commonwealth Law and Legal Education, 11(1) (pp. 26-43)
The Exercise of Religious Freedom in a Commercial Context: Preddy v Bull and other cases (2014-10-01)
Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 3(3) (pp. 512-517)
The Brüstle and Eli Lilly cases: Creation—God or humankind? (2012-10-01)
Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 1(2) (pp. 518-523)
A Theological Justification for Freedom of Religion and Belief as a Universal Right (2020)
In: Bunikowski, Dawid and Puppo, Alberto eds. Why Religion? Towards a Critical Philosophy of Law, Peace and God
ISBN : 978-3-030-35484-8 | Publisher : Springer International Publishing | Published : Switzerland
Tradition as a Peacebuilding Tool (2018-09-28)
In: Giles, Jessica; Pin, Andrea and Ravitch, Frank S. eds. Law, Religion and Tradition. Law and Religion in a Global Context (pp. 153-191)
ISBN : 978-3-319-96748-6 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Switzerland
Law, Religion and Tradition (2018-09-28)
Giles, Jessica; Pin, Andrea and Ravitch, Frank S. eds.
Law and Religion in a Global Context
ISBN : 978-3-319-96748-6 | Publisher : Springer International Publishing | Published : Switzerland
A hoped for coherent and permissive EU religious freedom policy: the Bougnaoui and Achbita cases (2017)
PILARs Case Comments, The Open University Law School
Lee v McArthur: a proportionate restriction on religious freedom rights? (2016)
PILARs Case Comments, The Open University Law School