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


© Copyright in individual posts is reserved to their authors.

Brexit basics

After the vote for Brexit, where next? The constitutional and legal implications are outside our “comfort zone”; however, there is a lot of good analysis out in the blogosphere and we thought it might be worthwhile to provide occasional lists of helpful posts on other sites.

The process

The Scottish dimension Continue reading

An end to quinquennial inspections?

Would nationally-set Regulations be an improvement on the present diocesan-focused schemes?

“Within the Church of England every church building must be inspected by an architect or chartered building surveyor approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) every five years. This regular system of review is designed to ensure that church buildings are kept in good repair”, [ChurchCare].

The Church’s quinquennial system is a requirement of the Inspection of Churches Measure 1955 and is based upon schemes established by Diocesan Synods. On the morning of Saturday 9 July, the General Synod of the Church of England will give its First Consideration to the Draft Inspection of Churches Measure, GS 2028 (Explanatory Memorandum, GS 2028x) with a view to introducing  a new legislative framework.

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Law and religion round-up – 26th June

So it’s goodbye to the EU, then…

… but not immediately

Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union reads as follows:

  1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
  2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
  3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
  4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
  5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.”

If a withdrawal agreement can be reached, it must be approved by the European Parliament and then by the Council, by Qualified Majority Voting. Continue reading

Faculties – then and now

Some light reading for the weekend

This year, L&RUK has summarized twenty-two consistory court judgments relating to the reordering of churches, (with more to come in the June round-up). Such petitions require considerable detail regarding the proposal and, if approved, these are generally subject to a number of further conditions. It is interesting, therefore, to contrast current practice with a faculty granted in 1854 which gave an incumbent carte blanche in undertaking a major reordering of what is now classified as a Grade I church.

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Gorilla’s head leads to return of church relic

A cautionary tale of “church treasures”

Simon Jenkins comments: “[l]ike many Downland chapels, Coombes [Parish Church]seems to have been too insignificant to merit a dedication. It lies on a hillside overlooking the River Adur, reached through a farm, over a style and across a field, [England’s Thousand Best Churches, (1999, Allen Lane Penguin Press) 690]. However, it is well-known for its C12th wall paintings of the Lewes Cluniac school, although less so for its C13th bronze corpus figure from a medieval crucifix manufactured in Limoges. Nevertheless, there are several web references to the ~90mm  high corpus including an image of it hanging in a window recess above the pulpit.The corpus was stolen about four or five years agohis post traces the route by which it was finally returned, and the deliberations of the consistory court, Re Coombes Parish Church [2016] ECC Chi 5, on its future safe keeping.

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Objective, critical and pluralistic? Religious Education in non-faith schools

In this guest post, David Pollock, a trustee of the British Humanist Association, explores how, in his view, the Department for Education is defying the law on Religious Education in non-faith schools. The post is an edited, slightly shorter version of the paper he delivered at the recent LARSN conference in Cardiff.


The UK has no constitution, or rather the constitution is unwritten and evolves as circumstances require. It is therefore a land governed not by principle but by pragmatism and power-broking. The evolution of our school system is a case in point. There was the struggle for power between the Church of England and the Nonconformists throughout the 19th century that for decades sidelined both Parliament and government as ineffective onlookers. In 1870, 1902 and again in 1944 deals were done resulting in compromises between religious interests with the power of possession and educationists and administrators seeking an efficient school system. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 19th June

 A week in which everything else paled into insignificance in the wake of the murder of Jo Cox MP and the massacre at Orlando…

“Out-of-school” education

As we have noted previously, the Government has been blowing hot and cold on the issue of inspecting education – broadly defined – outside the school system. Ministers had at first given assurances that they did not intend that Ofsted should start regulating Sunday schools, summer camps and intensive choir rehearsals. It then appeared that the Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill was going to include provisions – unspecified – on the inspection of out-of-school education settings. However, in reply to a Question in the Lords from Lord Mawhinney, Lord Nash (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education) seems to have clarified the situation: Continue reading