Law and religion round-up – 19th March

A week dominated by Brexit, ‘First Minister vs Prime Minister’ and the fall-out from the first judgments of the CJEU on religious manifestation… 

Brexit

As expected, on Monday the Commons rejected the Lords amendments to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, the Lords did not insist on their amendments and the bill passed. So after a total of 70 hours of debate, the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent on Thursday. The BBC reports that the Prime Minister is expected to wait until the end of the month formally to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave.

Meanwhile in Scotland… Continue reading

Lord Chancellor acknowledges Supreme Court’s “integrity and impartiality”

In an interview with PoliticsHome, the Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, has confirmed that the Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto commitment to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with a “British Bill of Rights”, is on hold – presumably for the remainder of the present Parliament: Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 25th December

Evidently a week for clearing desks – including ours…

Charity and the advancement of religion

On Monday the Charity Commission for England & Wales published its decision to reject an application from The Temple of the Jedi Order to register as a charitable incorporated organisation with purposes including “to advance the religion of Jediism, for the public benefit worldwide, in accordance with the Jedi Doctrine”: we noted it here and Russell Sandberg analysed the decision in depth here. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 9th October

A week so quiet that we found ourselves contemplating the plight of civil servants obliged to write rubbish for Twitter…

Appointing bishops in the C of E

We posted two pieces on episcopal appointment this week: on appointments to vacant sees and on the news of the appointment of a theological review of the work of the Crown Nominations Commission. In a thoughtful piece in Christian Today, Mark Woods (who, by the way, is a Baptist minister) mulls over the question, Bishops: Who Gets To Choose Who They Are, And Why? Well worth reading.

Abortion law in Poland

Christian Today reports that the Polish Government has decided not to seek a change in the law to impose a total ban on abortion following mass protests in which thousands of women dressed in black protested against the proposed ban even in the cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s health is at risk. 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

The rights of the unborn: a troubling decision from the [Irish] High Court?

In a cross-post from Human Rights in IrelandMáiréad Enright of Kent Law School analyses some recent judgments on the rights of foetuses under the Irish Constitution.

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Does the unborn have rights other than the right to life enshrined in the 8th Amendment?

It is clear that, under Irish law, foetuses cannot have any greater rights than children already born.[1] However, recent cases have raised the prospect that they have some of the same rights and interests as born children. In PP v. HSE,[2] for instance, the High Court referred to the ‘best interests’ of the foetus who has no prospect of survival outside the womb, analogising its position to that of a child on life support. It is not clear that the ‘unborn’ (the entity recognised or created by the 8th Amendment) is, for constitutional purposes, a child like any other. Recently, the courts have been asked to consider whether foetuses carried by Irish citizens have particular rights other than the right to life, which the state should take into account in assessing whether to deport their non-citizen fathers. Another, broader, way of putting this question is to ask whether the unborn’s rights derive exclusively from the 8th Amendment, or whether it may also enjoy rights grounded in other parts of the Constitution. Continue reading