Law and religion round-up – 3rd December

A relationships-dominated round-up, from cohabiting via prenups to divorce

Baroness Hale calls for no-fault divorce

In an interview in The Times (£), the President of the Supreme Court has called for the reform of divorce law in England and Wales and said that it is time to look again at proposals made when she was at the Law Commission in the 1990s, suggesting that divorcing couples do not want to allege fault and that “it ups the ante. It is a difficult time for everybody”: Continue reading

Recent queries and comments -19th August

An occasional prequel to our weekly round-up

Following an initial collection of queries and comments in our 13 August round-up, we have compiled a further batch of “Quick Answers”  which provides links within the blog to questions which have arisen from searches of, or comments during the past week or so. The content of these “Saturday Supplements” does not necessarily represent our most-read blogs, but reflects current interests of readers accessing the site on (mostly) contemporary issues.  Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 9th April

“Egg-bound” thinking by Church and State this week…

… but un oeuf is un oeuf, and so no more egg-related puns. However, we certainly didn’t expect the CofE Easter story statement to be about the “Trinity of Chocolate” (Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry). It was left to Dr Michael Sadgrove, Dean Emeritus of Durham, to inject a degree of sanity into the Church’s position in his comments to the Church Times.

Gratefully accepting a gift-horse of a metaphor, the BHA described it as a storm in an eggcup; it was a gift to the cartoonists and bloggers, while Quakers might shed a silent tear for three businesses founded by Friends. Meanwhile, the willingness of Theresa May to wade into this media-generated nonsense emphasized her lack of action on weightier matters. David Tollerton, of Exeter University, suggests that the whole affair is redolent of “dog-whistle politics”: an undercooked mess that feeds English nationalism, while Esther McConnell, a direct descendant of John Cadbury, pointed out in a tweet that, as a Quaker, he didn’t celebrate Easter anyway.

A busy week in the courts Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 2nd October

A week in which IICSA seemed in crisis yet again, another burkini ban was slapped down and the size of the House of Lords came under fire …

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The woes of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse seem to continue undiminished. On 28 September it was announced, and confirmed on 29 September, that the senior member of the Inquiry’s legal team, Ben Emmerson QC of Matrix Chambers, had been suspended from duty; and on the following day he resigned from the role of Counsel to the Inquiry. At the same time, it came to light that Elizabeth Prochaska, Emmerson’s immediate deputy, had already resigned. The BBC reported her as saying:

“I can confirm that after 15 months working on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, I resigned from my position as Junior Counsel with effect from 15 September 2016. I very much valued the experience of working with the Inquiry and I wish all my former colleagues the best as they continue their work.”

In a letter to the Chair on 29 September, Mr Emmerson notified Professor Jay of his resignation and  Continue reading

Admission to Holy Communion – Church in Wales, II

Further information on admission of children to Holy Communion in the Church in Wales

Earlier this month, we reported that the Bishops of the Church in Wales had issued a Pastoral Letter concerning Admission to Holy Communion: as from the First Sunday in Advent this year, 27 November, the Bishops are giving permission to communicate “to all who are baptised in water and in the name of the Holy Trinity” [within their dioceses and jurisdictions]. The Pastoral Letter, initially posted on the St Davids diocesan site, has now been published on the CinW’s provincial website in addition to other explanatory material: Continue reading

Burial and destruction of unwanted fonts – further clarification

Points arising from recent judgment on disposal of fonts

With allusions to Sydney Pollack’s 1969 award-winning film, our post They bury fonts, don’t they? considered the issues associated with the disposal of unwanted fonts raised in Re St. Peter Shipton Bellinger [2015] Winchester Const Ct, Christopher Clark Ch. In this case, three disposal options had been suggested: that it should be offered for sale; given to another church or chapel; or failing these options, buried in a convenient place in the churchyard. Although successfully appealed by the Victorian Society in the Arches Court, In Re St. Peter Shipton Bellinger [2015] Court of Arches, this latter judgment centred on the handling and determination of the case [“at every level almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong” [4]] rather than the burial or other disposal of the font. Nevertheless, the post gave rise to a valuable comment stream which we followed up in Last rites for fonts – continued.

The issue of the burial of fonts has been raised again recently in Re St Philip Scholes [2016] ECC Lee 5, and this post summarizes the review of the legal issues considered, the judgment of the court and the production of guidance by the Church Buildings Council.

Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 22nd May

The EU Neverendum grinds on – apart from which, it’s been quite an interesting week…

The Queen’s Speech

We noted the Queen’s Speech, insofar as it touched on issues of law and religion, and some aspects of it have already come in for adverse media comment from precisely that perspective. According to Christian Today, the proposal for a Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill provoked Simon McCrossan, head of public policy at the Evangelical Alliance, to respond:

“It’s extreme to try and tell religious groups what they can and can’t teach under the guise of fundamental British values. It’s extreme to threaten to send Ofsted inspectors into churches if they don’t teach British values. This government’s trying to fight extremism with extremism and the main casualty will be our fundamental freedoms.” Continue reading