The Bishop of the River of Hippopotamuses and the Archbishop of Cape Town

In a guest post, David Scrooby, an attorney of the Republic of South Africa, discusses a highly unusual recent case – the first of its kind in over 150 years… 


The case of Bishop Mlibo Ngewu v The Anglican Church of Southern Africa and Ten Others [2016] ZAKZPHC 88 is about the first canonical trial of a Bishop in Southern Africa since that of Bishop Colenso in 1864. The judgment of Her Ladyship Sharmaine Balton J, handed down in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on 6 October 2016, may not have the impact of that of the Privy Council in 1865 (to which Colenso appealed) or the canonical depth of that of the South African Labour Court in Cape Town in Church of the Province of Southern Africa, Diocese of Cape Town v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and Others [2001] ZALC 141. However, the judgment is important in a number of respects. Continue reading

How not to depose an Anglican bishop in Australia: Slater


The former Bishop of Grafton, Keith Slater, resigned on 17 May 2013 and retired to the Diocese of Brisbane. In 2015 under the terms of the Diocese of Grafton’s Professional Standards Ordinance 2004 (the “2004 Ordinance”), his successor, Bishop Sarah Macneil, deposed him “from Holy Orders in the Anglican Church of Australia” in accordance with the recommendation of the Professional Standards Board of the Diocese of Grafton [4]. The matter ultimately came before the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia, in Appeal of Keith Francis Slater [2017] 19 January. It’s an unusual judgment.

Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 26th June

So it’s goodbye to the EU, then…

… but not immediately

Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union reads as follows:

  1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
  2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
  3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
  4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
  5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.”

If a withdrawal agreement can be reached, it must be approved by the European Parliament and then by the Council, by Qualified Majority Voting. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 29th May

A week in which the Kirk held its annual General Assembly, the Government announced its promised review of sharia – and more on fonts and exhumations (but not simultaneously)…

The independent review into sharia

On Wednesday Home Secretary Theresa May launched the long-awaited independent review into sharia law in England and Wales, first mooted in March 2015. Almost simultaneously, Baroness Cox presented her private Peer’s bill, the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill, which she has promoted unsuccessfully on previous occasions.

Both seem to point to an issue that appears (to us, at least) exceedingly difficult to resolve. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 24th January

An apparent Government retreat, face-veils again, opposite-sex civil partnerships before the courts and three reflective posts on some wider issues…

Regulating out-of-school education

On Wednesday we posted on recent developments relating to the Department for Education’s call for evidence on inspection of informal out-of-school education in England, and the apparently reassuring response of the Prime Minister to a letter from Sir Gerald Howarth MP. Out-of-school education settings were also the subject of a Westminster Hall debate [HC Hansard 20 Jan 2016 Vol 604(100) Col 567WH] during which the Minister for Schools (Nick Gibb) gave an assurance that all the speeches made would be taken into account as the Government considers the responses to the consultation, which closed on 11 January and to which it had received more than 10,000 responses. The debate is covered in our post Regulating out-of-school education: is the DfE having second thoughts? Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 17th January

Round-up of a very quiet week – unless you were an Anglican Primate… 

Anglican Primates’ Meeting 2016

This week 37 Primates from the Anglican Communion met at Lambeth Palace at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury for Primates 2016, “an opportunity for Primates to discuss key issues face to face [including] a review of the structures of the Anglican Communion and deciding together their approach to the next Lambeth Conference”. The agenda was set by common agreement, and it was anticipated that this would include the issues of religiously-motivated violence, the protection of children and vulnerable adults, the environment and human sexuality. The announcement on the establishment of a common date for Easter, below, was unexpected.

In view of the sensitive nature of the discussions, no reports on the progress of the meetings were released, although the text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s opening address was made available on Vanguard, a Nigerian website; and a statement from the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Stanley Ntagali, on his reasons for leaving the Primates’ conference after two days, which was contained in a letter to his Church, was published online on Thursday. Continue reading