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 – February 2017

Review of the ecclesiastical court judgments during February 2017

February’s consistory court judgments have included:

In addition, the determinations of two CDM tribunals have been published, and we have published individual posts on the development of a Private Bill in relation to cemetery development, and on the attestation of York Minister Constables in order to give them police powers. 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

Law and religion round-up – 28th August

Another fairly quiet week in the UK

…although our thoughts are with victims and survivors of Wednesday’s earthquake in Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche, about 105 km north-east of Rome, which was centred on Amatrice and Accumoli. A mass funeral took place on Saturday for 35 of the 290 people killed in the 6.2-magnitude quake; in Scheggino, a few kilometres up the valley from the earthquake’s epicentre, the choir of St Mary’s, Maldon (UK) sang Choral Evensong, including a setting of the Pie Jesu specially composed over by James Davy (Director of Choristers, Chelmsford Cathedral) in remembrance of the victims of the earthquake.

The “British Bill of Rights” saga grinds on

On Monday, Justice Secretary Liz Truss told presenter Nick Robinson on the Today programme that the Government had not ditched plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights: Continue reading

Recent consistory court judgments – June

The judgments in June included cases relating to reordering“church treasures” and other salesexhumation and churchyards and burial. The relatively uncontroversial complete demolition of an unlisted church and its replacement by a new building was considered in Re St. Philip the Evangelist Dorridge, whilst Re St. Michael & All Angels Stockton will be of interest, both technically and legally, to churches having pre-Victorian roof tiles in need of replacement.

The unexpected return of the small corpus from a crucifix following its theft from Coombes Parish Church led to a consideration of its future safe-keeping; in  Gorilla’s head leads to return of church relic we supplemented the consistory court judgment with a summary of the complex police investigation, initiated by the enforcement of environmental regulations. The earlier Re St. Michael & All Angels Stockton also considered what was regarded as a “church treasure” – in fact none of the items considered in this case.

In Re St. Paul Woodhouse Eaves the chancellor determined that in the absence of a bishop during a vacancy in see, he could authorise the installation of an aumbry in the church. In Re All Saints Shawell the petitioners sought the disposal of “children’s pews” of varying sizes, and unusually the chancellor made proposals “not suggested in the paperwork on this petition” for consideration by the petitioners and their architect.

The shortest and possibly least controversial judgment of the month, Re St Michael Cornhill, was perhaps one of the most significant since it granted permissions for the burial of ashes within the church crypt. As in May, an older case was made available in electronic form in view of current interest in the issues under consideration – in this case, access to premises adjoining a churchyard. Re St. Martin le Grand York [1988] York Const. Ct, Coningsby Ch. is also reported at [1990] Fam 63 but before readers rush to download the case from the ELA web site, they should be aware that the judgment is 96 pages long and the file is ~8MB in size

This month we have also posted on Churchyard Regulations – the practicalities of enforcement, the Risks of disregarding the faculty jurisdiction and proposals for An end to quinquennial inspections?

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Faculties – then and now

Some light reading for the weekend

This year, L&RUK has summarized twenty-two consistory court judgments relating to the reordering of churches, (with more to come in the June round-up). Such petitions require considerable detail regarding the proposal and, if approved, these are generally subject to a number of further conditions. It is interesting, therefore, to contrast current practice with a faculty granted in 1854 which gave an incumbent carte blanche in undertaking a major reordering of what is now classified as a Grade I church.

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Ecclesiastical exemption: where things stand in the four jurisdictions

In view of the fact that the ecclesiastical exemption from listed building controls has become a matter of some political interest in both Northern Ireland and Wales, we thought it might be useful to provide an overview of how things currently stand across the four jurisdictions.


In England (and currently in Wales), the “listed denominations” under the Ecclesiastical Exemption (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (England) Order 2010 are exempt from listed building controls. Currently, the listed denominations in England are the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union and the United Reformed Church. Continue reading