Law & Religion UK is intended as a forum for what we hope is academically-rigorous exploration of the interactions between law and religion, together with the associated human rights issues. We welcome pertinent guest posts and comments on current developments that reflect the views and opinions of their respective authors and meet the General Conditions applying to the site. Those that do not meet these criteria or which are otherwise unidentifiable are unlikely to be published, especially comments that are abusive or defamatory.

Frank Cranmer and David Pocklington


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Law and religion round-up – 28th August

Another fairly quiet week in the UK

…although our thoughts are with victims and survivors of Wednesday’s earthquake in Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche, about 105 km north-east of Rome, which was centred on Amatrice and Accumoli. A mass funeral took place on Saturday for 35 of the 290 people killed in the 6.2-magnitude quake; in Scheggino, a few kilometres up the valley from the earthquake’s epicentre, the choir of St Mary’s, Maldon (UK) sang Choral Evensong, including a setting of the Pie Jesu specially composed over by James Davy (Director of Choristers, Chelmsford Cathedral) in remembrance of the victims of the earthquake.

The “British Bill of Rights” saga grinds on

On Monday, Justice Secretary Liz Truss told presenter Nick Robinson on the Today programme that the Government had not ditched plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights: Continue reading

Exhumation and reburial of ashes in Germany

The Fourth Chamber of the Ansbach Administrative Tribunal of First Instance [Verwaltungsgericht Ansbach] has refused to allow a daughter to exhume and rebury her mother’s’ ashes in another cemetery, holding that held the sanctity of a dead person’s final resting-place should be given greater weight that the rights of the deceased’s relatives. Continue reading

Legal developments – July General Synod

The latest Archdeacons’ News Bulletin #17 published this week reproduces the following useful summary of the legislative business at the Church of England’s July General Synod in York, which first appeared in the Ordinary Time (July) issue of the Ecclesiastical Law Society Gospel and Law. Links to the papers discussed are on the Church of England web site, here. Continue reading

Tackling Islamist extremism in prisons: the Acheson Review

In September 2015 the then Secretary of State for Justice commissioned a departmental review led by Ian Acheson, a former prison governor, to assess the threat which Islamist extremism and the radicalisation that sustains it pose to prisons and probation services and to assess the capability of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) to manage that threat. The Ministry of Justice has now published a Summary of the main findings of the review of Islamist extremism in prisons, probation and youth justice – but not the full report itself. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 21st August

Roundup of a very quiet week – but it’s August, after all…

… although yesterday we posted Brexit Basics 7, another of our occasional updates of news and comment on Brexit. Whilst we attempt to stay with the legal issues and steer clear of speculation and commenting on the politics &c, it seems from the FT and others media that a major problem with the delivery of Brexit at present is the turf wars between the Brexit ministers.Of more interest to those focussing on the legal aspects are the inevitable FoI requests on the “Brexit process”, some of which have been made through the

Of more interest to those focusing on the legal aspects are the inevitable FoI requests on the “Brexit process”, some of which have been made through the What do they know? site. A request on the “whistleblowing” policy of DExEU was refused and perhaps, understandably, requests on the following are either “delayed” or “awaited”: the total cost of exiting the EU; economic forecasts should the UK lose “passporting” rights in financial services through a Brexit deal; costs to government (the Civil Service) of leaving the EU; and the skeleton argument in the Deir Dos Santos case. However, this and other sites publishing FoI requests are valuable potential sources of information. Watch this space. Continue reading

Brexit Basics 7: update 20th August

Another of our occasional updates of news and comment on Brexit.

The UK Dimension

  • Ana Bobic and Josephine van Zeben, UK Constitutional Law Association: Negotiating Brexit: Can the UK Have Its Cake and Eat It?: in a word, “No”: the authors conclude that “Any agreement with the EU must deal with the free movement of persons while attempting to maintain free trade in services and goods … this bodes ill for an EEA-light option (without free movement of goods) and makes the WTO route appear more realistic.” [2 August]

Continue reading

The rights of the unborn: a troubling decision from the [Irish] High Court?

In a cross-post from Human Rights in IrelandMáiréad Enright of Kent Law School analyses some recent judgments on the rights of foetuses under the Irish Constitution.


Does the unborn have rights other than the right to life enshrined in the 8th Amendment?

It is clear that, under Irish law, foetuses cannot have any greater rights than children already born.[1] However, recent cases have raised the prospect that they have some of the same rights and interests as born children. In PP v. HSE,[2] for instance, the High Court referred to the ‘best interests’ of the foetus who has no prospect of survival outside the womb, analogising its position to that of a child on life support. It is not clear that the ‘unborn’ (the entity recognised or created by the 8th Amendment) is, for constitutional purposes, a child like any other. Recently, the courts have been asked to consider whether foetuses carried by Irish citizens have particular rights other than the right to life, which the state should take into account in assessing whether to deport their non-citizen fathers. Another, broader, way of putting this question is to ask whether the unborn’s rights derive exclusively from the 8th Amendment, or whether it may also enjoy rights grounded in other parts of the Constitution. Continue reading