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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

Use of church buildings: update of “toolkit”

A date for the diary and a web page to watch

The Communications Director of the Hereford Diocese, Catherine Cashmore, has issued the Press Release New guide to developing a place of worship for community use on an updated version of the snappily titled ‘Crossing the Threshold: a step by step guide to developing your place of worship for wider community use and managing successful building projects’, which is being undertaken in partnership with the Diocese of Hereford.  Continue reading

High Court of NI refuses to review absence of same-sex marriage

The High Court in Belfast has dismissed two cases challenging Northern Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage. According to media reports, O’Hara J said that it was for the Northern Ireland Assembly rather than for the judiciary to decide social policy: Continue reading

The last word on the “pews vs chairs” debate…

…or would that be too much to hope for?

Of the wide range of guidance issued by the Church Buildings Council (CBC), that entitled “Seating” is one of the more prescriptive, and last month we reviewed its application following recent consideration in the consistory courts. A further judgment has been handed down which re-states its advisory status, queries the rationale of an important aspect of this guidance, and raises important issues on the perception of aspects of the petition. Continue reading

Australian Royal Commission recommends lifting seal of confessional

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published its final recommendations on Criminal Justice. One is of particular interest: the section entitled Failure to report offence recommends “the introduction of a new criminal offence of failure to report targeted at child sexual abuse in an institutional context (recommendation 33)”. In particular, it proposes that clergy should no longer be permitted to refuse to disclose offending on the grounds that they came by the information in the course of a confession:

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Law and religion round-up – 13th August

Blasphemy in Ireland, flying spaghetti in Germany, silly hats in Canada – just a typical week…

Ireland’s blasphemy laws “least restrictive in the world”? Possibly, but…

The Report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom 2017 noted that

“many countries in Western Europe, including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, and Italy, retain legislation on blasphemy, defamation of religion, or ‘anti-religious remarks’, though these laws are seldom enforced. In one promising development, Ireland’s coalition government announced in May 2016 its intention to hold a referendum on the removal of its blasphemy law” [212].

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