Law and religion round-up – 2nd July

From Hung Parliament to Bung Parliament…

…male Members without ties, and even more bishops.

Abortion in Northern Ireland

Last week, one year on from hearing oral argument, the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal overturned the ruling at first instance by Horner J in which he held that the abortion law in Northern Ireland was incompatible with the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 in circumstances where the foetus had been diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality or where the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. Simultaneously, however, the BBC reported that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had announced in advance of a likely vote on the issue in the House of Commons that women from Northern Ireland would in future be able to obtain NHS terminations in England. We noted it all here. Continue reading

Lord Carey resigns as honorary assistant bishop

The Bishop of Oxford has released the following press statement:

“I have met with Lord Carey following the Archbishop’s letter to him. In light of Dame Moira Gibb’s review into the Peter Ball case, Lord Carey has resigned from his role as honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford. Lord Carey has accepted the criticisms made of him in the Gibb review and has apologised to the victims of Peter Ball. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 19th February

A week dominated by THAT vote in Synod…

The week in Synod

The Rt Rev David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, prefaced the week with a tweet:

“For half term week the C of E sets up a special holiday club called Synod, where we try to play nicely with all the other girls and boys”.

Whether they did “play nicely” was not easy to discern; Continue reading

Child sexual abuse and vicarious liability in Ireland: Hickey

In Hickey v McGowan & Ors [2017] IESC 6, the Supreme Court of Ireland has upheld the judgment of the High Court that the Marist Order was vicariously liable for the sexual abuse which the plaintiff, Pádraig Hickey, suffered at the hands of one Brother Cosgrove between 1969 to 1972 while attending a National School run by the Marists. Although the appeal was successful to the extent that contributory negligence was adjudged to be split equally between the Order and the school manager and the overall award for personal injury was significantly reduced, the Supreme Court upheld the finding of vicarious liability. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 22nd January

A fairly quiet week for the blog, but certainly not for politics…


On Tuesday, the Prime Minister unveiled her plans for Brexit – or at least her desiderata. We summarised the main points here. To describe reactions as “mixed” is something of an understatement.

Northern Ireland elections

As expected, the power-sharing Executive in Belfast duly collapsed. Minutes after the deadline for a nomination to replace Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister had passed, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, announced that elections for Stormont would take place on 2 March. Continue reading

Historical Institutional Child Abuse in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has reported. The Inquiry, chaired by Sir Anthony Hart, a former Judge of the Northern Ireland High Court, studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 and 1995, the largest number of which related to four homes run by the Roman Catholic Church. A total of 493 applicants engaged with the Inquiry in one way or another. The majority were interviewed in Belfast, but others were seen in the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and Australia. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 15th January

The usual mix of the newsworthy, the obscure and the faintly ridiculous… 

Historic abuse in Northern Ireland…

The final report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has been submitted to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and will be published on Friday 20 January (though whether Northern Ireland will still have an Executive on 20 January is another question entirely). The investigation, which started in 2013, has been chaired throughout by Sir Anthony Hart, a retired judge of the Northern Ireland High Court. It looked primarily into cases of abuse that took place in 22 residential homes for children between 1922 and 1995. Continue reading