Community religious rights and Article 9 ECHR: Hamat

In Hamat (Article 9 – freedom of religion: Afghanistan) [2016] UKUT 286 (IAC) the nub of the argument was whether or not the actions of Home Secretary Theresa May in refusing to grant asylum to Mr Hamat, an Afghan who had been working as the de facto imam of the Afghanistan Islamic Cultural Centre, had violated the Article 9 rights of the Afghan community to choose its own religious leaders. Continue reading

Hungary and registration of religious groups: Magyar Mennonita Egyház again

The background

In Magyar Keresztény Mennonita Egyház and Ors v Hungary [2014] ECHR 552 the applicants were a range of religious groups and individual members of those groups that had previously operated as communities registered by the competent court in conformity with Act no. IV of 1990 (“the Church Act 1990”): the Mennonites, various Congregationalist and Evangelical Christian groups, the Alliance of Hungarian Reformed Jewish Communities, the European Union for Progressive Judaism, the Buddhists and some others. Prior to the adoption of a new Church Act, which entered into force in January 2012, they had been registered as churches and received State funding. Under the new law, which aimed to address problems relating to the exploitation of State funds by certain churches, only a number of recognised churches continued to receive funding. All other religious communities, including the applicants, lost their status as churches but were free to continue their religious activities as associations. Continue reading

Prisoners’ religious rights: Wojciechowski v Poland

In Janusz Wojciechowski v Poland [2016] ECHR 586 the applicant complained about the inadequate conditions of detention after a criminal conviction: overcrowding, inadequate medical care for a skin condition that he had contracted in the remand centre and unreasonable restrictions on his attending Sunday Mass in the remand centre. The domestic courts had upheld his complaint about overcrowding but had rejected his complaints about inadequate medical care and attendance at Mass. Mr Wojciechowski complained of breaches of Article 3 ECHR (inhuman or degrading treatment) and Article 9 (thought, conscience, and religion). Continue reading

Independent review into handling of George Bell case

Today the Church of England issued the following Press Release:

“Independent review into handling of George Bell case

28 June 2016

An independent review of the processes used in the George Bell case has been announced today in accordance with the House of Bishops guidance on all complex cases.

The House of Bishops practice guidance states that once all matters relating to any serious safeguarding situation have been completed, the Core Group should meet again to review the process and to consider what lessons can be learned for the handling of future serious safeguarding situations.  A review has always been carried out in any case involving allegations against a bishop. Continue reading

Commons Home Affairs Committee inquiry into sharia councils

The Commons Home Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into sharia councils operating in the UK. The Committee will examine how sharia councils operate in practice, their work resolving family and divorce disputes and their relationship with the British legal system. Written evidence is invited on, but need not be restricted to, the following issues: Continue reading

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.

Continue reading