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Law & Religion UK is intended as a forum for what (we hope) is academically-rigorous exploration of the interactions between law and religion – broadly defined – together with the human rights issues associated with them. We are always interested in guest posts from colleagues in the field of law and religion.

We also welcome pertinent comments on current developments that reflect the views and opinions of their respective authors and meet the General Conditions applying to the site. However, those that do not meet those criteria or which are otherwise unidentifiable are unlikely to be published, especially comments that are abusive or defamatory. For more information see our comments policy below.

Frank Cranmer and David Pocklington

Groundwater pollution from cemeteries

How will new guidance impact on development of cemeteries?

On 14 March, the Environment Agency (EA) issued a new tranche of guidance on groundwater protection. That relating to cemeteries is of particular importance in view of the current shortage of burial space and the need for future development, either by the extension of existing cemeteries or the creation of new ones, including grave plot reuse and ‘lift and deepen’ methods. This post outlines the underlying provisions, discusses their application, and examines some of the apparent inconsistencies.   Continue reading

Taking the Queen’s Shilling: the implications for religious freedom of religions being registered as charities

This guest post by Robert Meakin is an abridged version of a forthcoming article in the next edition of Law & Justice and is published here with the kind permission of the Editor, John Duddington. 

Introduction

There have been concerns recently about whether religions might have religious doctrines and practices challenged if they are registered as charities.[1] This article looks at possible grounds to challenge the Charity Commission, including the common law principles of non-justiciability, charity law (the definition of religion and public benefit) and human rights.

Grounds for challenging the Charity Commission’s approach to religious charities

  • The Principle of Non-Justiciability

Continue reading

The Bishop of the River of Hippopotamuses and the Archbishop of Cape Town

In a guest post, David Scrooby, an attorney of the Republic of South Africa, discusses a highly unusual recent case – the first of its kind in over 150 years… 

Introduction

The case of Bishop Mlibo Ngewu v The Anglican Church of Southern Africa and Ten Others [2016] ZAKZPHC 88 is about the first canonical trial of a Bishop in Southern Africa since that of Bishop Colenso in 1864. The judgment of Her Ladyship Sharmaine Balton J, handed down in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on 6 October 2016, may not have the impact of that of the Privy Council in 1865 (to which Colenso appealed) or the canonical depth of that of the South African Labour Court in Cape Town in Church of the Province of Southern Africa, Diocese of Cape Town v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and Others [2001] ZALC 141. However, the judgment is important in a number of respects. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 19th March

A week dominated by Brexit, ‘First Minister vs Prime Minister’ and the fall-out from the first judgments of the CJEU on religious manifestation… 

Brexit

As expected, on Monday the Commons rejected the Lords amendments to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, the Lords did not insist on their amendments and the bill passed. So after a total of 70 hours of debate, the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent on Thursday. The BBC reports that the Prime Minister is expected to wait until the end of the month formally to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave.

Meanwhile in Scotland… Continue reading

Peterborough Cathedral Visitation: Update

On 13th March 2017, the Second Church Estates Commissioner Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered written question 67095 from Stewart Jackson MP on Peterborough Cathedral.

Mr Stewart Jackson (Peterborough): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what progress has been made on addressing the financial difficulties at Peterborough Cathedral; and if she will make a statement.

Dame Caroline Spelman: In addition to the answer given on 13 October 2016 to written question 47672, on 6th January 2017 the Bishop of Peterborough issued a visitation charge to the Cathedral Chapter and published his directions to improve governance at the Cathedral.  Continue reading

Municipal cemetery development and the faculty jurisdiction

The boundary between ecclesiastical and statutory legislation

The challenges faced by cemeteries and churchyards in meeting the current shortage of burial space have been considered in earlier posts, primarily in relation to the re-use of graves and more recently in the case of the development of a private cemetery. The recently-reported example of Camberwell Old and New Cemeteries broadens these considerations to the wholesale development of areas of consecrated ground within a municipal cemetery, and the interface between the faculty jurisdiction and secular provisions. Continue reading

“Three-parent babies” in UK from 2018?

Further progress towards the application of mitochondrial donation

Following the 15 December announcement by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that it had approved “the cautious use of mitochondrial donation in treatment, we posted Three-parent babies” in UK from 2017?” The HFEA has now announced that it has granted the first UK licence to the team at the Newcastle Fertility at Life , which indicated that, realistically, Continue reading