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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

May a faith-based nursery school sack a teacher for cohabitation? De Groen

And here’s one we should have noted earlier…

Background

In Ms Z De Groen v Gan Menachem Hendon Ltd [2017] UKET 3347281/2016, the claimant was employed by the respondent, a private Orthodox Jewish nursery school that followed the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe [22]. Part of the ethos of the nursery is to instil in its children the principles and practices of ultra-Orthodox Judaism:

“Both handbooks for teachers and parents and a job description mention the religious nature of the nursery in various places. However, none sets out that all staff must adhere to the beliefs and practices of the ultra-Orthodox community with which the nursery is most closely associated. Indeed, the respondent was at pains to point out that it was open to employing a non-Jew as a teacher provided that they had a sufficient knowledge of the principles of Judaism and adhered to key aspects of its fundamental principles (such as its dress code)” [24]. Continue reading

Wearing religious symbols in court: Hamidović

in Hamidović v Bosnia and Herzegovina [2017] ECHR 1101, the European Court of Human Rights held, by six votes to one, that there had been a violation of Article 9 (thought, conscience and religion) ECHR.

The background

The applicant, Mr Hamidović, is a Muslim. In 2012 he was a witness in the criminal trial of Mr Mevlid Jašarević, a member of the local group advocating the Wahhabi/Salafi version of Islam. The judge ordered him to remove his skullcap and when he refused he was expelled from the courtroom and was subsequently convicted of contempt of court and fined [7]. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 10th December

The usual mix of news that seemed to be important and stuff that simply caught our eye…

Future progress on Brexit

Possibly the most important news of the week – though it impacts on “religion” only tangentially (unless you’re the bishop of four dioceses that straddle the Irish border, in which case it impacts quite strongly) – was the statement on progress in the Brexit negotiations. In brief, the parties have agreed that there will be no hard border between the two parts of Ireland and that the existing rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK citizens living in the (rest of) the EU will be respected. Phew!

The Charity Commission on safeguarding

The Charity Commission has issued a new safeguarding strategy. Continue reading

Recent queries and comments – 9th December

A further compilation of “Quick Answers” and links

This is the twelfth post in which we have sought to provide “quick answers” to comments and queries that had been raised through the search function on L&RUK. Since its first appearance in our weekly round-up on 13th August this year, there has been a total of 160 responses to questions we considered to be within our remit (and to some which have not).

For issues which arise on a fairly regular basis, we have provided links to sources of frequently sought data, in addition to a selection of relevant pages on the CofE new website. The minutiae of the 1983 Code of Canons are not our specialist subject, and the blogs of Fr Z and Cathy Caridi have provided some Q&A of interest in this area. Dr Ed Peters’ blog In the Light of the Law gives more a detailed consideration of current issues, though not in a Q&A format.

Continue reading

Same-sex marriage, civil partnership and the Austrian Constitutional Court

Readers will no doubt remember the outcome of Schalk and Kopf v Austria [2010] ECHR 1996, in which the ECtHR ruled that there was no right under the Convention for same-sex couples to marry. It held that, in the absence of same-sex marriage in Austria, the possibility of entering a registered partnership satisfied the requirements of Article 12 ECHR (right to marry and found a family).

The Constitutional Court of Austria [Verfassungsgerichtshof] has just taken precisely the opposite view. Continue reading

Bishop of Norwich to chair independent inquiry into disgraced surgeon

In a rather unusual interweaving of law and religion, the Government has announced that the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, will chair an independent inquiry into disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson, to look at any broader lessons that can be learned about private healthcare. The details of the inquiry were released yesterday, Thursday, following a pledge by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to hold a “comprehensive and focused inquiry” into Paterson’s wrongdoing.

Continue reading