Bishop of Norwich to chair independent inquiry into disgraced surgeon

In a rather unusual interweaving of law and religion, the Government has announced that the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, will chair an independent inquiry into disgraced breast surgeon Ian Paterson, to look at any broader lessons that can be learned about private healthcare. The details of the inquiry were released yesterday, Thursday, following a pledge by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to hold a “comprehensive and focused inquiry” into Paterson’s wrongdoing.

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Conscientious objection and acquittal for alleged criminal damage

And here’s something we should have reported earlier…

On 26 October, the Revd Daniel Woodhouse, a Methodist Minister, and Sam Walton, who works with the Quakers in Britain, were found not guilty at Burnley Magistrates’ Court of criminal damage. Armed with a hammer, they had attempted to reach aircraft that were bound for Saudi Arabia when they were apprehended at BAE Warton in January 2017. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 12th November

 This week we were reminded that a “fulsome” apology meant a “sickeningly obsequious” one: aside from which there were a number of disparate issues that added up to a lengthy round-up…

Uber loses its appeal

Taxi firm Uber has lost its appeal against a ruling that its drivers should be treated as workers rather than self-employed. Last year, an Employment Tribunal ruled that Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam were employed by Uber and therefore entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the National Living Wage. Uber appealed, arguing that its drivers were self-employed and were under no obligation to use its booking app. In the Employment Appeal Tribunal, HHJ Eady was satisfied that the ET had not erred either in its approach or in its conclusions when it rejected Uber’s argument that it was simply connecting independent drivers with customers, Unsurprisingly, Uber has announced that it will appeal against the latest ruling.

Which has more to do with “religion” than you might think.  Continue reading

Obstructing worship and the Canadian Criminal Code

In this guest post, Alan Perry, Executive Archdeacon of Edmonton and a graduate of the Cardiff LLM course, explores one of the more unusual pitfalls of criminal law reform.

The Parliament of Canada is in the process of doing some clean-up and modernization of the Criminal Code. There was a particularly embarrassing situation about a year ago when a judge rendered a decision in a long and convoluted murder trial based on a provision of the Criminal Code that had been struck down a number of years ago by the Supreme Court but never formally repealed. The presence of a number of what were referred to colloquially as “zombie laws” in the Code, as well as some desire to make some other changes to the Code resulted in Bill C-51, “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act”, which is currently before Parliament.

One of the provisions proposed for repeal, either on the ground of redundancy or of obsolescence, was section 176, which prohibits obstructing a cleric in the performance of his duties or disrupting worship. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 5th November

A week in which the Westminster sexual exploitation scandal continued to claim scalps, there was an important report on House of Lords reform – and Brexit rumbled on…

Victimisation and public interest disclosure in school

In Miss S Bi v E-ACT (England and Wales: Public Interest Disclosure: Race Discrimination: Religion or Belief Discrimination) [2017] UKET 1304471/2015, the ET upheld the claim of Ms Suriyah Bi, a Muslim teaching assistant, that her dismissal  constituted victimisation under ss.27 and 39 Equality Act 2010 Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 1st October

And the party conference season grinds on – but in real life (and amongst the episcopi vagantes) …

“Living wills”

Sky News reported that, during the course of a hearing last week in the Court of Protection about the treatment of an elderly man who is in a minimally conscious state, Francis J said this:

“It should be compulsory that we all have to make living wills because these cases would be resolved much more easily. We all ought to be encouraged to tackle these issues. If there was some sort of campaign to educate people about these sort of things I think people would actually do something about it.” Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 24th September

A very quiet week – except in Florence…


From the Prime Minister’s speech in Florence on Friday:

“Where there is uncertainty around underlying EU law, I want the UK courts to be able to take into account the judgments of the European Court of Justice with a view to ensuring consistent interpretation. On this basis, I hope our teams can reach firm agreement quickly.” Continue reading