Consistory court catch-up, February 2015

In addition to the consistory cases summarized in this post come further examples of problems encountered with interments in churchyards. None of these was subject to judicial consideration by the ecclesiastical courts, but have been included in view of the commonality in some of the issues involved.

  • On 4 February, the Daily Telegraph reported that an interment at Nottingham Road cemetery in Chaddesden, near Derby, had to be postponed as the space prepared proved too small for the coffin, which was of normal dimensions; the widow and around 300 mourners had to return to their cars wait until the space was made larger, although the priest had to leave in order to conduct another funeral;
  • In Oxfordshire there was a recent unreported instance of a funeral, also attended by a significant number of mourners, where the priest and family had to return the following day for the interment; instead of preparing a grave so that the deceased could be buried with his wife, the adjacent plot containing deceased’s son was prepared.
  • And in our round-up on 15 February, we reported of the confusion resulting from a parish council’s response to a complaint by from a Muslim family concerning the recent burial of a Roman Catholic in a grave space adjacent to their relative. The Ministry of Justice’s explanation of basics of exhumation law resolved the situation.

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Mitochondrial donation approved in UK law

The draft Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations 2015 are now part of UK law. The Regulations were subject to the affirmative procedure and therefore required formal approval from both Houses of Parliament. Following the Commons vote 382 to 128 in favour, [3 Feb 2015 Vol 592(104) Col 160], it was the turn of the House of Lords, and the SI was approved following the rejection of Lord Deben’s “fatal amendment” by 280 to 48, [24 Feb 2015 Vol 759(106) Col 1569].

Introducing the draft Regulations, Continue reading

The human rights cases absolutely everyone should know about

This was my attempt to answer Adam Wagner’s request for a list of the fifty human rights cases absolutely everyone should know about. Inspiration failed me after No 16. And there’s only one overtly “religious” case on the list: I ignored Eweida & Ors v UK [2013] ECHR 37 on the grounds that all it did was to offer a fairly minor relaxation to the “specific situation” rule.

The notes are bite-sized to comply with Adam’s 50-word limit. And umpteen important ECtHR cases were excluded from consideration because they didn’t involve the UK. On reflection, they mostly seem to be about sex and violence…

  1. Ridge v Baldwin [1963] UKHL 2: When the Brighton Watch Committee dismissed its Chief Constable without a proper hearing it had violated natural justice. The Lords overturned the principle that the doctrine of natural justice could not be applied to administrative decisions. The case helped lay the foundations for the modern law of judicial review.

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Joint Committee on the Draft Protection of Charities Bill: report

The Joint Committee of Lords and Commons has published its Report on the Draft Protection of Charities Bill. Its principal conclusions and recommendations are as follows:

  • Because lots of charities are excepted or exempted from the requirement to register with the Charity Commission it does not have full regulatory control over the sector – which makes it harder to ascertain the full scale of abuse. [43] In the next substantial review of charity law the Government should consider whether all charities should be obliged to register with the Commission. [ 44]

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Anti-Muslim demonstration breach of Article 9 ECHR: Karaahmed v Bulgaria

The Banya Bashi Mosque, built in 1576, is currently the only active mosque in Sofia. Loudspeakers were installed soon after the fall of the communist regime in 1989 and used for the call for prayer, which lasts about five minutes five times a day, and for the whole of the Friday prayers, but turned off between 10 pm and 6 am to comply with the urban noise regulations.

The facts

Ataka, a Bulgarian political party, began a campaign against the noise from the mosque’s loudspeakers and on the evening of 18 July 2006 organised a rally against the “howling” emanating from the loudspeakers during the call to prayer. Continue reading

MPs debate non-stun slaughter (yet again)

Religious slaughter was last considered by MPs at the end of last year when Neil Parish (Con, Tiverton and Honiton), chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beef and Lamb, secured a debate on “Meat slaughtered in accordance with religious rites”, Commons Hansard 4 Nov 2014 Vol 592(105) Col 147WH. This Monday, 23 February, the topic was again on the agenda with another WH debate on “an e-petition relating to ending non-stun slaughter to promote animal welfare.” Continue reading