Gender dysphoria, family breakdown and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism


In J v B (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender) [2017] EWFC 4, the couple, who were members of the North Manchester Charedi Jewish community, ended their marriage in June 2015 when the father, J, left home to live as a woman. J then had no contact with the children because of the attitude of the Charedi community to transsexuals [3 & 4]. J nevertheless “remained an Orthodox Jew, maintaining a kosher diet to the best of her ability and attending Orthodox synagogue when she could” [60]. Continue reading

Ecclesiastical Court Judgments – January

Ecclesiastical court judgments reviewed in January 2017

January’s consistory court judgments have included:

In addition, a CDM Tribunal has considered the penalty in Re Gomes and the Rt Revd Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough has issued his Visitation Charge to Peterborough Cathedral. Some of these judgements &c have been considered in further detail; see Links to other posts. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 29th January

An extraordinarily busy week dominated by Brexit – and just how many more times will we find ourselves saying that?

Brexit and the Supreme Court

Although we steadfastly avoided predicting the outcome of the Supreme Court appeal in the Brexit cases, we were not at all surprised either at the result or that it was an 8/3 split decision. We do not intend to add to the already a mass of analysis on the legal blogs by commentators much more expert than we are; they have been summarized by Robert Craig on the Constitutional Law Group site: Miller: An Index of Reports and Commentary. Continue reading

Sexuality issues and relevant legal provisions

The current legal provisions underpinning the House of Bishops Report

On 27 January, the Church of England published Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations: A Report from the House of Bishops, GS 2055. The Bishops comment:

“We know that this report may prove challenging or difficult reading. We are confident, however, that the commitment that has been shown to listening to one another, not least through the Shared Conversations, in dioceses and in the General Synod, will have helped prepare us all as members of Synod to address together the challenges we face as a part of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We would ask for it to be read as a whole, with each paragraph being understood in the context of the whole report“.

The House was also provided with legal advice which described the effect of the relevant provisions of ecclesiastical law [19]. The parts of that advice which are material to the content of this report are attached as ANNEX 1, which is reproduced below [emboldening in original]: Continue reading

The right kind of ‘secular state’ – a Christian perspective

We have posted previously on both the CORAB report and the recent secularist response. In this guest post, Jonathan Chaplin, Director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, responds to the latter. This article is an extended version of a KLICE Comment published by the Kirby Laing Institute on 20 January 2017 and shortly to be cross-posted at Public Spirit.


On 17 January the University of Warwick released A Secularist Response to the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life[1] It is offered as a ‘critical counterweight’ (p3) to the Commission’s report Living with Difference: Community, Diversity and the Common Good published in December 2015. The CORAB report proposed a ‘new settlement’ on the place of religion in public life in view of the current rapid shifts in religious allegiance and identity in British society, including the decline in membership of mainline Christian denominations and the significant growth of those adhering to no religion and to new minority religions. It argues that this growing de facto plurality ought to be better accommodated in the de jure institutional and constitutional status of religion and belief and reflected in public policy. It projected an appealing ‘vision … of a society at ease with itself … in which [all] feel at home as part of an ongoing national story … [and] to which all … wish to, and are encouraged to, contribute … to the common good’ (Living With Difference, p11). The report unleashed many vigorous responses, including many from Christians, several of which, in my view, were hasty and dismissive. Continue reading

Plaques, noticeboards and acknowledgements

Faculty jurisdiction and external signage

The commercial relationship between individual churches and external organizations frequently requires the display of clearly visible signage, often outside the church building. This was the substance of the recently-reported Re St Bartholomew Welby [2017] ECC Lei 1, in which the court considered how a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) might best be acknowledged without compromising the appearance of the Grade II* church.

However, this raises broader issues concerning the display of other external notices such as those relating to the application of forensic marking on roofing – a requirement of some insurance providers. Whilst the legislation is clear, one suspects that many such notices are appended to churches without formal faculty approval. Continue reading