Law and religion round-up – 25th June

Factual rather than “patriotic” coverage of the week’s events…

EU-UK Brexit talks

Whilst it is premature to comment extensively on the Brexit talks between the UK and the EU, one outcome of Monday’s meeting was agreement on the EU’s insistence on “sequencing”. Article 50 TFEU envisages two agreements: an exit agreement concerning issues relating to the departure of the UK from the EU and an agreement on future relations, which for the UK essentially means trade. David Allen Green comments: ”The UK want(ed) both to be negotiated together, in parallel. The EU wanted a number of preliminary issues discussed before the parties moved on to discussing future trade relations”. The UK’s insistence on “sequencing” was likely to be, in the words of David Davis, “the row of the summer”. However, the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, stated:

“In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues. We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit. We want to make sure that the withdrawal of the UK happens in an orderly manner. Then, in a second step, we will scope our future relationship.”

This was confirmed by the Department for Exiting the European Union.

The Queen’s Speech and the Great Repeal Bill

The Government’s intention as announced in the Gracious Speech on Wednesday is that the (evidently no longer “Great”) Repeal Bill will allow for a smooth and orderly transition as the UK leaves the EU, ensuring that, wherever practical, the same rules and laws apply after Brexit as before it. The Bill will: Continue reading

Clergy working expenses

Following changes in tax legislation, the working expenses agreement between the Church Commissioners and HM Revenue & Customs regarding reimbursement of certain expenses is no longer is in force. The following document is now available in the Church of England Document Library, and more detailed information on reimbursement of expenses for clergy and their tax advisor can be found here.  Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 26th March

A week in which events were totally overshadowed by the attack in Westminster

A thoughtful consideration of those events from an insider’s point of view was presented by the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, in his Yorkshire Post article From a Palace of democracy to an Abbey of prayer, the best and worst of humanity, written just two hours after the end of the lockdown of parliamentarians and others, who had been transferred to Westminster Abbey.

Progress on Brexit

Prior to the Commons consideration of the Pension Schemes Bill [Lords] and the subsequent adjournment and lockdown of the parliamentary estate, a first reading was given to Tim Farron’s Ten Minute Rule Bill, Terms of Withdrawal from the European Union (Referendum). A second reading was scheduled for Friday 12 May – although its chances of becoming law are zero. Continue reading

Lobbying the Lords on HS2

The Lords Spiritual and Second Church Estates Commissioner, supported by the Parliamentary Unit, provide the formal interface between the Church of England and the Westminster Parliament. In addition, the legislative process is also informed by others within the Church through their responses to consultations and contributions to Select Committees. A recent example of the latter was an evidence session of the High Speed Rail Committee Continue reading

An end to quinquennial inspections?

Would nationally-set Regulations be an improvement on the present diocesan-focused schemes?

“Within the Church of England every church building must be inspected by an architect or chartered building surveyor approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) every five years. This regular system of review is designed to ensure that church buildings are kept in good repair”, [ChurchCare].

The Church’s quinquennial system is a requirement of the Inspection of Churches Measure 1955 and is based upon schemes established by Diocesan Synods. On the morning of Saturday 9 July, the General Synod of the Church of England will give its First Consideration to the Draft Inspection of Churches Measure, GS 2028 (Explanatory Memorandum, GS 2028x) with a view to introducing  a new legislative framework.

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