Law and religion round-up – 18th June

And in a week overshadowed by the horrendous fire at Grenfell Tower and the fallout from the General Election …

Access for Northern Ireland women to free abortion in England

On Thursday we posted Frank’s analysis of R (A and B) v Secretary of State for Health [2017] UKSC 41 in which the Supreme Court considered:

  • Was the Secretary of State ‘s failure to exercise his power to require abortion services to be provided through the NHS in England to women ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland unlawful as a failure to discharge his duty under s 3 of the National Health Service Act 2006 to “take such steps as he considers necessary to meet all reasonable requirements” for services?
  • Does the continuing failure to provide free abortion services in England to women ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland infringe Articles 14 (discrimination) and 8 (private and family life) ECHR?

The appeal was dismissed by a 3-2 majority, and we suggested that it is quite possible that the case is bound for Strasbourg. Continue reading

Ecclesiastical court judgments – April and May 2017

Over the last two months, only nine new consistory court judgments have been reported. Although most of these relating to aspects of reordering, in Re Fairmile Cemetery Lower Assendon, the illegal practice of “coffin sliding” by the burial authority was brought to the attention of the Oxford consistory court. For completeness, we have also added outline details of an ECtHR case relating to churchyards, the judgment of which will be handed down early in June. In addition to links to our other posts relating to ecclesiastical law, this round-up includes summaries of cases in the following areas: Continue reading

Differing perspectives on pew replacement

Further thoughts on the “chairs vs pews” debate

Last year, our August post, Pews, perceptions and practicalities, offered some thoughts on the “chairs vs pews” debate. The recent judgment on the reordering of St Margaret’s in Rainham, Kent, has prompted further consideration, this time concerning the selective reporting and interpretation of consistory court judgments as well as other related issues. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 5th March

Brexit rumbles on, but perhaps the most important event of the week was the outcome of the Northern Ireland Assembly Election – on which we would not presume to comment…

Son (or more accurately daughter) of Miller?

Gina Miller, who mounted the successful challenge in the Supreme Court to the Prime Minister’s proposal to trigger Article 50 TEU by using the Royal Prerogative, has said that she is looking at launching a new challenge if Parliament is not given a vote on the final terms of Brexit. Speaking to Bloomberg, Ms Miller explained: Continue reading

Ecclesiastical court judgments 2016

Index to ecclesiastical court judgments reviewed during 2016, and links to reviews in 2014 and 2015

The judgments reviewed in L&RUK during 2016 have been grouped under the following headings. Continue reading

Ecclesiastical court judgments – August/late summer

Although relatively few consistory court judgments were reported in August, those that were are not without interest: the issue of pew vs chairs in Re Holy Trinity Long Itchington was followed by a more general post on the practicalities involved, and although not an unusual or unexpected judgement, the case raised a degree of  media interest. Another airing was given to whether unwanted fonts should be buried, and the development of procedures within the new Leeds Diocese resulted in led to a standardization of churchyard regulations Re St. John the Baptist Adel and St. Michael Markington. This will be considered in more detail in a future post. Also in the Leeds Diocese,  Re St. Michael and St. Lawrence Fewston considered, inter alia, the failings within the former Diocese of Bradford relating to the exhumation of 154 sets of human remains. Continue reading

Pews, perceptions and practicalities

Some thoughts on the “chairs vs pews” debate

Faculty petitions for the reordering of a church frequently include proposals for the replacement of some or all the existing pews with chairs, whilst others merely seek the strategic removal of one or more rows of pews to increase the overall space within the church. This post examines some of the perceptions that are held regarding the importance of pews in churches and the practicalities of their replacement or removal.  Continue reading