Law and religion round-up – 21st January

The Irish Parliament wrestles with abortion law and, as the new Dean is installed at Peterborough, the Church of England wrestles with cathedral governance 

The Irish abortion debate

Last week, Dáil Éireann considered the report of its Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution in light of the recommendation of the Citizens’ Assembly than the constitutional ban on abortion should be repealed. Continue reading

Assisting suicide: leave to appeal granted in R (Conway)

As readers will no doubt be aware, Mr Noel Conway, who is 68, has suffered from a form of Motor Neurone Disease since about 2012 and wishes to end his life at a time of his own choosing because, as he explained:

“At some point, my breathing will stop altogether or I will become so helpless that I will be effectively entombed in my own body. I would not like to live like this. I would find it a totally undignified state for me to live in. I find the prospect of this state for me to live quite unacceptable and I wish to end my life when I feel it is the right moment to do so, in a way that is swift and dignified.”

Continue reading

Compulsory sex education and Article 9 ECHR: AR & LR v Switzerland

Background

In 2011, a Basel primary school refused to grant Ms AR’s request that her daughter LR, then aged seven and about to move up to the second year of primary school, be exempted from sex education lessons.

In AR and LR v Switzerland [2018] (Application no 22338/15), relying on Article 8 § 1 (private and family life) Ms AR and Ms LR argued that there had been a violation of Ms AR’s right to respect for private and family life, and that Ms LR had been subjected to an unjustified interference with the exercise of her right to respect for her private life. They also complained of an infringement of their right to freedom of religion and conscience under Article 9 §1 and of a breach of Article 14 (discrimination) taken together with Articles 8 and 9. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 14th January

Reforming the coronial system, school lunches in France, smacking children in Wales, screening Star Wars in Stornoway – 2018 is in full swing…

…and following that comment directed at certain countries by President Trump (referred to by the BBC as “a disparaging remark”), the Revd Jody Stowell suggested that many vicars would be pondering whether they can quote him verbatim in their Sunday sermon. Baroness Jenkin of Kennington was not so constrained in the Thursday HL debate on Social Media. Prefaced by “please, my Lords, forgive the unparliamentary language and block your ears if you are sensitive or easily offended”, she repeated offensive comments made to Tory candidates during the last election; Hansard reported her speech without resort to circumlocution or asterisks.

Coroners

In Inertia on inquests, Joshua Rozenberg returns to the question of the disappearance of the review of coroner services launched by the MoJ in October 2015. Everyone assumes that the overwhelming response Continue reading

Sharia and inheritance in Western Thrace: Molla Sali

In Molla Sali v Greece (No. 20452/14) (which we noted briefly in April 2015) the applicant, Ms Chatitze Molla Sali, is a Greek national born in 1950 who lives in Komotini in Western Thrace. On the death of her husband, she inherited his entire estate under the terms of a will drawn up by him before a notary. His two sisters contested the will, on the grounds that their brother had belonged to the Muslim minority community in Western Thrace and that all matters relating to his estate were therefore subject to Islamic law and to the jurisdiction of the mufti rather than to the provisions of the Greek Civil Code. They relied in particular on the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres and the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which provided for Islamic customs and Islamic religious law to be applied to Greek nationals who were Muslims. Continue reading

Racist language, free expression and Article 10: GRA Stiftung

Background

GRA Stiftung gegen Rassismus und Antisemitismus (the GRA Foundation against Racism and Anti-Semitism), is a Swiss NGO that promotes tolerance and condemns racially-motivated discrimination.

In November 2009, the youth wing of the Swiss People’s Party held a meeting in Frauenfeld during the run-up to the referendum on banning the building of minarets. After the meeting, GRA posted an entry on its website citing the People’s Party’s own report of a speech by BK, the head of the party’s local youth branch, which quoted him as saying that it was time to stop the expansion of Islam, that “the Swiss guiding culture, based on Christianity, cannot allow itself to be replaced by other cultures” and that banning minarets would be an expression of the preservation of national identity. The minaret ban was approved in the referendum and the Constitution was amended to implement the result. Continue reading