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.
Today, 2 December, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published its updated Guidance on religion and belief in the workplace. It also published Religion or belief – is the law working?, which explores whether Great Britain’s equality and human rights legal framework gives sufficient protection to individuals with a religion or belief and religion or belief organisations, while balancing the rights of others under the Equality Act 2010. The evaluation focuses on four questions:
Is the legal approach to defining a religion or a belief effective?
Are the Equality Act exceptions allowing religion or belief requirements to influence employment decisions sufficient and appropriate?
Does the law sufficiently protect employees wishing to manifest a religion or belief at work?
Does the law sufficiently protect service users and service providers in relation to religion or belief?
In 1948, the Greek-Catholic Church of Romania [Biserica Română Unită cu Roma, Greco-Catolică] was dissolved by Nicolai Ceaușescu and its property handed over to the Orthodox Church by decree. After the fall of Ceaușescu in 1989, Legislative Decree No. 126/1990 was passed to provide that the legal status of property that had belonged to the Greek-Catholic Church would be determined by joint commissions made up of representatives of both the Greek-Catholic and Orthodox Churches, taking account of the “wishes of the adherents of the communities which own these properties”. The Decree provided that in the event of disagreement, a party with an interest in bringing proceedings could do so under the ordinary law.
On Saturday 26th November, Leicester Diocesan Synod supported the proposal for creating the new diocesan role of Suffragan Bishop of Loughborough to replace that of the Assistant Bishop of Leicester on the retirement of Bishop Christopher Boyle, the former diocesan bishop of Northern Malawi. The Press Release states: “the proposal must now go to the Church of England’s national Synod, and if agreed by them it will then require royal assent. All being well, a new bishop could be appointed by the end of 2017”. Unlike the appointment to an existing but dormant see on which we posted earlier, new suffragan sees are seldom created; this post reviews the issues involved. Continue reading →
In An NHS Trust v T EWHC 2980 (Fam) Child T, the two-year-old son of Jehovah’s Witnesses, suffered from a low blood platelet count, which led his doctors to consider that he might have a medical condition affecting his bone marrow production . T’s consultant paediatric haematologist concluded that T would need to have blood products administered in order to prevent a very serious deterioration in his health .Continue reading →
In a guest post, Robert Meakin of Stone King LLP reassesses one of the leading cases on public benefit and the advancement of religion.
This article  revisits the case of Gilmour v Coats AC 426,  UKHL 1. It is a timely moment to revisit the case because there is doubt about the requirement of public benefit for charities with purposes to advance religion. The case deals with the issue of private religious practice and the extent to which a religious organisation needs to engage with the public. These are live issues which need resolving and therefore it is a good moment to challenge the assumptions made in Gilmour v Coats. Continue reading →
As part of Interfaith Week, Ed Kessler, Director of the Woolf Institute, posted The Value Of Religious Dialogue In An Increasingly Secular Age on Huffington Post. He begins from the contradiction between the dramatic increase in the number of people describing themselves as non-religious and the fact that religion “has rarely had such a central part in our national conversation”. Moreover,
“all too often religion is seen not as a source of comfort or a force for good but as a cause of division and distrust. In a world become less united by the day, religion is viewed as a powerful force pulling us apart.” Continue reading →