Law and religion round-up – 11th March

IICSA begins hearings on the Church of England, Ireland clears the way for a referendum on abortion and the President of the Supreme Court tackles the vexed question of niqabs in court.

Lady Hale on religious dress

The Supreme Court website has posted the text of Lady Hale’s Sultan Azlan Shah Lecture, given at Oxford in January, on religious dress and, in particular, on the vexed issue of Muslim women wearing niqab veils in court. In a nutshell: Continue reading

Dismissal for opposition to same-sex adoption: Mr R Page

Is opposition on grounds of conscience to adoption by same-sex couples protected by equality legislation and the ECHR? That was the issue before the Tribunal in Mr R Page v NHS Trust Development Authority [2017] UKET 2302433/2016.

The background

At the time of his appointment as a Non-Executive Director of the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership NHS Trust, Mr Page was a lay magistrate. In July 2014, he had sat with two other magistrates as a family panel to consider an adoption application by a same-sex couple. The application was granted by the other two magistrates – a decision from which he dissented. The other magistrates and the clerk of the court complained about him following that case and he was subsequently reprimanded by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice: a statement was issued by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office dated 30 December 2014 in the following terms:

Continue reading

Foster-care and “the religious background of the child”: update

Yesterday, 29 August, we noted the case of a five-year-old girl from a Christian family was placed in care with a Muslim couple. The local authority involved, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, said that there had been several inaccuracies in the reporting of the case: in particular, it rejected reports that the foster family did not speak English. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 5th February

Brexit yet again, child abuse, abortion, deposition from Orders – the usual mix…

Brexit yet again

On Friday, the Administrative Court threw out the latest Brexit challenge by a group led by Peter Wilding and Adrian Yalland. They argued that, under the terms of Article 127 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, Parliament should give separate approval to the UK’s exit from the EEA.

Lloyd-Jones LJ and Lewis J concluded that the Government had not made a decision “as to the mechanism by which the EEA agreement would cease to apply within the UK”. As a result, it was not clear at this stage what issues, if any, would fall within the jurisdiction of the courts. All we have at the moment is press reports: we’ll be interested to see the written judgment.

‘EU Withdrawal Bill’ – Second Reading and White Paper 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

Law and religion round-up – 20th March

Cathedrals in the Budget, Baptists and same-sex weddings, another glitch for “Vatileaks II” – and some sensible thoughts on church & state…

Pemberton v Inwood

Jeremy Pemberton announced that he had been given leave to appeal against the decision of the Employment Tribunal in his discrimination claim. He had been prevented from taking up a new post as Chaplaincy and Bereavement Manage with Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust after the Bishop refused to license him because he had married his partner Laurence Cunnington. A two-day hearing is anticipated later in the year. We posted about the ET decision here.

Sacked magistrate to sue Continue reading