“Undue spiritual influence” – where next?

Implications of independent report on electoral fraud and “undue spiritual influence”

On 12 August, the Cabinet Office published the independent report (*the Report”) of Sir Eric Pickles, former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Sir Eric had been asked by the previous government to consider what further changes were needed to make the electoral system more secure in light of the 2015 Tower Hamlets election court judgment and the consequent disqualification of the elected mayor for a number of corrupt and illegal practices. The Report, Securing the Ballot, includes recommendations about how the government can prevent such crimes in the UK. Continue reading

The Conseil d’État and the “burkini ban”

Until now, we have avoided commenting on the burkini ban on some French beaches, on the basis that there were several news reports but very little in the way of legal analysis. However, the urgent applications judge of the Conseil d’État has now suspended a ban imposed by the Mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet (Alpes-Maritimes) on wearing the burkini on the town’s beaches.


On 5 August, the Mayor decreed a new local ordinance regulating the use of public beaches in that city, which included an Article 4.3 forbidding swimmers from wearing clothes “obviously showing a religious affiliation” – thereby effectively banning them from the beaches. The ban appeared to be aimed in particular at Muslim women who wore whole-body swimsuits. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 28th August

Another fairly quiet week in the UK

…although our thoughts are with victims and survivors of Wednesday’s earthquake in Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche, about 105 km north-east of Rome, which was centred on Amatrice and Accumoli. A mass funeral took place on Saturday for 35 of the 290 people killed in the 6.2-magnitude quake; in Scheggino, a few kilometres up the valley from the earthquake’s epicentre, the choir of St Mary’s, Maldon (UK) sang Choral Evensong, including a setting of the Pie Jesu specially composed over by James Davy (Director of Choristers, Chelmsford Cathedral) in remembrance of the victims of the earthquake.

The “British Bill of Rights” saga grinds on

On Monday, Justice Secretary Liz Truss told presenter Nick Robinson on the Today programme that the Government had not ditched plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights: Continue reading

Exhumation and reburial of ashes in Germany

The Fourth Chamber of the Ansbach Administrative Tribunal of First Instance [Verwaltungsgericht Ansbach] has refused to allow a daughter to exhume and rebury her mother’s’ ashes in another cemetery, holding that the sanctity of a dead person’s final resting-place should be given greater weight that the rights of the deceased’s relatives. Continue reading

Legal developments – July General Synod

The latest Archdeacons’ News Bulletin #17 published this week reproduces the following useful summary of the legislative business at the Church of England’s July General Synod in York, which first appeared in the Ordinary Time (July) issue of the Ecclesiastical Law Society Gospel and Law. Links to the papers discussed are on the Church of England web site, here. Continue reading

Tackling Islamist extremism in prisons: the Acheson Review

In September 2015 the then Secretary of State for Justice commissioned a departmental review led by Ian Acheson, a former prison governor, to assess the threat which Islamist extremism and the radicalisation that sustains it pose to prisons and probation services and to assess the capability of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) to manage that threat. The Ministry of Justice has now published a Summary of the main findings of the review of Islamist extremism in prisons, probation and youth justice – but not the full report itself. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 21st August

Roundup of a very quiet week – but it’s August, after all…

… although yesterday we posted Brexit Basics 7, another of our occasional updates of news and comment on Brexit. Whilst we attempt to stay with the legal issues and steer clear of speculation and commenting on the politics &c, it seems from the FT and others media that a major problem with the delivery of Brexit at present is the turf wars between the Brexit ministers.Of more interest to those focussing on the legal aspects are the inevitable FoI requests on the “Brexit process”, some of which have been made through the

Of more interest to those focusing on the legal aspects are the inevitable FoI requests on the “Brexit process”, some of which have been made through the What do they know? site. A request on the “whistleblowing” policy of DExEU was refused and perhaps, understandably, requests on the following are either “delayed” or “awaited”: the total cost of exiting the EU; economic forecasts should the UK lose “passporting” rights in financial services through a Brexit deal; costs to government (the Civil Service) of leaving the EU; and the skeleton argument in the Deir Dos Santos case. However, this and other sites publishing FoI requests are valuable potential sources of information. Watch this space. Continue reading