Clergy employment – an unusual case: Gould

Another one I missed…

The Times reported (£) on 27 December that “A lawyer-turned-vicar is suing his church for discrimination after he was dismissed when his marriage ended.” The report relates to the dismissal of the Revd Jonathan Gould as minister of St John’s Downshire Hill, in Hampstead, and the subsequent proceedings before Employment Judge Lewzey and, in October, before Simler J in the Employment Appeal Tribunal: see Rev J Gould v Trustees of St John’s Downshire Hill [2017] UKEAT 0115/17/0510.

Background

St John’s Church, Downshire Hill, is one of the few surviving Church of England proprietary chapels. It is recognised as a church within the Diocese of London but has complete independence in financial matters. Continue reading

Same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland again: Close

And here’s one I should have made much earlier…

In a brief judgment in Close & Ors, Re Judicial Review [2017] NIQB 79, delivered in August, O’Hara J dismissed a challenge to Article 6 of the Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 by two same-sex couples who had entered into civil partnerships in 2005. The applicants contended that the effect of the Convention, as incorporated into the law of the United Kingdom by the Human Rights Act 1998, was that the continued denial of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was unlawful [7]. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 24th December

And before you settle down to turkey, mince pies, crackers and possibly Mrs Brown’s Strictly Come Bake-off Yuletide Special, a bit of law… 

Undue spiritual influence again

Lutfur Rahman, a non-practising solicitor who had formerly been a partner at McCormacks Law, is the former Mayor of Tower Hamlets who In 2015 was found guilty by an election court of illegal and corrupt practices and barred from holding office for five years. We reported the case here because one of the issues in Erlam & Ors v Rahman & Anor [2015] EWHC (QB) 1215 was “undue spiritual influence”. Continue reading

Muslim asylum-seekers and conversion: A v Switzerland

The ECtHR has concluded that an asylum-seeker who has converted to Christianity will not necessarily face persecution if returned to Iran.

In A v Switzerland [2017] ECHR (no. 60342/16), the applicant, an Iranian, entered Switzerland in 2009 and immediately claimed asylum. He brought three sets of asylum proceedings, all without success. In his second application, he submitted at a hearing that he would be at risk if returned to Iran because he had converted from Islam to Christianity. The authorities doubted, however, that his conversion was genuine and rejected his application. Continue reading

Gender dysphoria, family breakdown and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism revisited

The Court of Appeal (Sir James Munby P and Arden and Singh LJJ) has handed down judgment in M (Children), Re [2017] EWCA Civ 2164.

The background

In January I reported on (and commented on) Peter Jackson J’s judgment 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, though she sought to remain an Orthodox Jew, keeping kosher and attending the Orthodox synagogue when she could. She sought an order for contact from the Family Court. Continue reading

Non-recognition of third-country talaq divorce: Sahyouni

The CJEU has ruled in Sahyouni v Mamisch [2017] ECJ Case C‑372/16 that a talaq divorce pronounced in a third country does not attract the provisions of Article 1 of Regulation No 1259/2010 on enhanced cooperation in the law applicable to divorce and legal separation.

Continue reading