Religious Land Use + Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)    

Known as RLUIPA, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act is a federal law requiring local governments to implement and enforce land use regulations without burdening the exercise of religion by religious institutions and individuals—and to treat them in the same manner as nonreligious institutions. When a local government denies or conditions an application to build a house of worship, or to expand a building to accommodate religious practice, the religious institution often sues under RLUIPA, claiming discrimination by the local government.

As part of our Land Use team, our RLUIPA practice group is a national leader in minimizing exposure to, and defending government entities against RLUIPA claims. Our clients turn to us for exceptional legal advice to understand the interests of all stakeholders, and for unwavering support in state and federal courts, and beyond.

Our Services

RLUIPA cases have high stakes, and are often emotionally charged. They can dramatically affect the interests of all stakeholders—including developers, governmental entities, landowners, religious institutions, and entire communities.

We provide seasoned advice and counsel to our clients. To minimize exposure to RLUIPA suits and monetary liability, we work with municipal governments contemplating zoning code changes to evaluate religious land use implications.  We are asked by land use agencies to provide real-time counsel during public hearings to consider proposed religious land uses. We also defend municipal governments in state and federal courts across the country when RLUIPA cases are brought. In states where we do not have offices, we are frequently admitted pro hac vice—and we work with a far-reaching network of local counsel across the country.

Our Team

Through a multidisciplinary approach, our RLUIPA practice group attorneys collaborate with colleagues across our firm’s diverse practice areas. We seamlessly integrate the knowledge, experience, and proficiency of our Land Use and Litigation practice groups to achieve strong results for our clients.

Our RLUIPA practice group lawyers are among the leading authorities on RLUIPA law in the country. Since 2012, we have published the widely acclaimed RLUIPA Defense blog. Through the blog, we share our cutting-edge knowledge on the latest RLUIPA legal development with our readers, including industry professionals. Robinson+Cole partner Michael Giaimo was a co-editor of the book RLUIPA Reader: Religious Land Uses, Zoning, and the Courts published by the American Bar Association’s Section of State and Local Government Law.

Our top-tier RLIUPA practice group understands the complexities of all stakeholders in high-stakes RLIUPA cases. We provide sophisticated legal services to state and federal government entities, to minimize exposure and limit financial liability when cases are brought.