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Constitution in light of the recommendation of the Citizens’ Assembly than the constitutional ban on abortion should be repealed.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

Law and religion round-up – 14th January

Reforming the coronial system, school lunches in France, smacking children in Wales, screening Star Wars in Stornoway – 2018 is in full swing…

…and following that comment directed at certain countries by President Trump (referred to by the BBC as “a disparaging remark”), the Revd Jody Stowell suggested that many vicars would be pondering whether they can quote him verbatim in their Sunday sermon. Baroness Jenkin of Kennington was not so constrained in the Thursday HL debate on Social Media. Prefaced by “please, my Lords, forgive the unparliamentary language and block your ears if you are sensitive or easily offended”, she repeated offensive comments made to Tory candidates during the last election; Hansard reported her speech without resort to circumlocution or asterisks.

Coroners

In Inertia on inquests, Joshua Rozenberg returns to the question of the disappearance of the review of coroner services launched by the MoJ in October 2015. Everyone assumes that the overwhelming response Continue reading

Same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland again: Close

And here’s one I should have made much earlier…

In a brief judgment in Close & Ors, Re Judicial Review [2017] NIQB 79, delivered in August, O’Hara J dismissed a challenge to Article 6 of the Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 by two same-sex couples who had entered into civil partnerships in 2005. The applicants contended that the effect of the Convention, as incorporated into the law of the United Kingdom by the Human Rights Act 1998, was that the continued denial of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was unlawful [7]. Continue reading

Lee v McArthur: the Gay Wedding Cake revisited

In a guest post, Dr Michael Arnheim, Barrister at Law and Sometime Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, offers another view of Lee v McArthur & Ors [2016] NICA 29 and the forthcoming appeal.

Introduction

What is the point of yet another article on the “Gay Wedding Cake” saga? Just this, that, having lost in two courts already, the Christian bakery owners are about to receive a final knock-out blow in the UK Supreme Court – unless their lawyers take off their gloves and go for the jugular. Up to now, their lawyers have fought their corner in a quiet, gentlemanly way – on their adversaries’ terms. It is time to challenge the whole very shaky basis of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland.  Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 10th December

The usual mix of news that seemed to be important and stuff that simply caught our eye…

Future progress on Brexit

Possibly the most important news of the week – though it impacts on “religion” only tangentially (unless you’re the bishop of four dioceses that straddle the Irish border, in which case it impacts quite strongly) – was the statement on progress in the Brexit negotiations. In brief, the parties have agreed that there will be no hard border between the two parts of Ireland and that the existing rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK citizens living in the (rest of) the EU will be respected. Phew!

The Charity Commission on safeguarding

The Charity Commission has issued a new safeguarding strategy. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 3rd December

A relationships-dominated round-up, from cohabiting via prenups to divorce

Baroness Hale calls for no-fault divorce

In an interview in The Times (£), the President of the Supreme Court has called for the reform of divorce law in England and Wales and said that it is time to look again at proposals made when she was at the Law Commission in the 1990s, suggesting that divorcing couples do not want to allege fault and that “it ups the ante. It is a difficult time for everybody”: Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 26th November

A week in which marriage and cohabitation were much in the news and GAFCON claimed its first scalp (or should that be bonnet?) in Scotland…

Unrecognised religious marriages

A survey for The Truth about Muslim Marriage, a documentary broadcast on Channel 4 on Tuesday, suggested that as many as 200,000 Muslim couples may be living in unregistered marriages. The survey of 923 Muslim women revealed that while 78 per cent wanted their marriages to be legally valid, 61 per cent had had a nikah ceremony only. It also suggested that some 28 per cent of those women who had married in a nikah ceremony were unaware that it did not give them the same rights and protections as a legally-recognised marriage. Continue reading