Law and religion round-up – 25th February

Surrogacy, charity, matrimony, heraldry, privacy, hospitality …

Reforming the law on surrogacy

As we noted at the time, on 14 December the Law Commission for England & Wales announced that one of the subjects to be included in its Thirteenth Programme of Law Reform would be surrogacy. The Scottish Law Commission has also now announced – in almost identical terms – that it, too, will be looking at surrogacy as part of its Tenth Programme and will do so in a joint project with the Law Commission for England and Wales. Continue reading

A Fear of Sharia: why the Independent Report is a wasted opportunity

In a guest post, Russell Sandberg, Head of Law and Reader in the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff, is fairly unimpressed with the report of the Independent Review into the Application of Sharia Law in England and Wales


Today, 7 February 2018, is ten years to the day since Rowan Williams gave his lecture that illustrated the fear and heat surrounding the issue of sharia and how little we know about the operation of sharia law in the UK. Academic work in the last decade and some earlier work have meant that we now know a great deal about some sharia councils operate (or at least the representations they give to researchers). And there has been a great deal of literature by lawyers, political scientists, theologians and others into the range of issues that such institutions raise.

In particular, a literature has developed on the ‘minorities within minorities’ issue: the need to protect the rights of those within the communities, especially to ensure that there is no discrimination on grounds of gender.

Yet there is still much that we do not know. Continue reading

A review of marriage and divorce law in England and Wales?

The Times reports (£) that the new Justice Secretary, David Gauke, has agreed to look again at the case for ‘no-fault’ divorce. According to the report, he told the paper:

“I know The Times has campaigned vigorously for reform of family law, including fault-based divorce, and a number of respected figures have voiced their support for change. I acknowledge the strength of feeling on this issue and will study the evidence for change.”

However, he added that he would not “rush to a conclusion”. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 4th February

The week in which Rose Wild gave the blog a name-check (£, alas) in The Times…

…but we can give you unlimited free access to our original post, Paganism, religion and human rights.

Education and social cohesion and HM Chief Inspector

On Thursday, Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills, made a speech at the conference of the Church of England Foundation for Education Leadership. Perhaps her major concern was the need to ensure that schools upheld “fundamental British values” and equality. She called for “a muscular liberalism” that had “no truck for ideologies that want to close minds or narrow opportunity”. We summarised her speech here, to which the CofE Press Release of the conference made only passing reference.

Marriage certification Continue reading

Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill

The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.) Bill was read a second time yesterday, 2 February, with qualified Government support: the Member in charge of the bill, Tim Loughton, had evidently come to an agreement with the Home Office about amendments to be tabled in committee. Continue reading

Sharia in England and Wales: report of the independent review

The Home Office has today published the report of the independent review chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui into the application by sharia councils in England and Wales of sharia law. In brief, the report makes three recommendations: for legislative change, for awareness campaigns and for regulation.

1. Legislative change Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 21st January

The Irish Parliament wrestles with abortion law and, as the new Dean is installed at Peterborough, the Church of England wrestles with cathedral governance 

The Irish abortion debate

Last week, Dáil Éireann considered the report of its Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution in light of the recommendation of the Citizens’ Assembly than the constitutional ban on abortion should be repealed. Continue reading