Law and religion round-up – 1st May

As you enjoy your May Morning champagne breakfast, or engage in a little barley-break, here is a round-up of last week’s news …

… however, there was relatively little law and religion news this week, although at L&RUK we had record daily (and monthly) readership.

Brexit and the ECHR

Last week, Theresa May’s speech on the desirability of withdrawing from the ECHR while remaining a member of the EU set the hares running (or perhaps in her case, a cat): we posted about it here. The Law Society Gazette subsequently reported that ministers at the MoJ are “clear” that the UK will remain a signatory of the ECHR. We wonder whether we’re beginning to lose the plot or whether, perhaps, there’s no longer any plot to lose: however, for a considered analysis, see Mark Elliott’s article in Public Law for EveryoneTheresa May’s case for withdrawal from the ECHR: Politically astute, legally dubious, constitutionally naïve.

Same-sex marriage in the Isle of Man

On Tuesday, the Isle of Man’s Legislative Council (the Upper House of Tynwaldapproved the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Bill by six votes to three. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 17th April

A week during which names seem to have been a recurring theme…

Are there limits to what a parent can name a child?

“Yes!” said the Court of Appeal, in a very complex judgment of which this is only a very brief taster. The twins in C (Children) [2016] EWCA Civ 374 “were said to have been conceived as a result of rape and there [was] no known respondent father” [4]. Their mother, who has a long-standing diagnosis of psychosis and schizophrenia [5], wanted to call the boy “Preacher” (which she described as “a strong spiritual name”) and the girl “Cyanide” (which she described as “a lovely pretty name”) [12].

The Court was having none of it and dismissed the appeal from the Family Court. King LJ concluded that this was “one of those rare cases where the court, in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction, should intervene to protect the girl twin from the emotional harm that I am satisfied she would suffer if called ‘Cyanide'” [109]. She concluded that, though there was nothing inherently objectionable about the name “Preacher”, “the girl twin’s welfare can only met by neither she nor her brother having the names chosen for them by their mother” [115]. And quite right too.

New Lord Justice Clerk

Lady Dorrian is to be the new Lord Justice Clerk in succession to Lord Carloway, who recently became Lord Justice General and Lord President of the Court of Session. Continue reading

Same-sex marriage and the Church in Wales

First steps towards recognition of same-sex marriage in the Church in Wales

Today the Church in Wales issued the following Press Release:

“Same-sex marriage statement

The Church should be a place where gay and lesbian people can be “honest and open, respected and affirmed”, say the bishops of the Church in Wales.

They are issuing a joint pastoral letter in response to consultations and debates on same-sex marriage across the Church in Wales last year, as well as to a statement from the Primates of the Anglican Communion in January. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 20th March

Cathedrals in the Budget, Baptists and same-sex weddings, another glitch for “Vatileaks II” – and some sensible thoughts on church & state…

Pemberton v Inwood

Jeremy Pemberton announced that he had been given leave to appeal against the decision of the Employment Tribunal in his discrimination claim. He had been prevented from taking up a new post as Chaplaincy and Bereavement Manage with Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust after the Bishop refused to license him because he had married his partner Laurence Cunnington. A two-day hearing is anticipated later in the year. We posted about the ET decision here.

Sacked magistrate to sue Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 13th March

Sunday trading and EVEL, the EU Referendum, fitness to practise, Belgian Scientologists, vicarious liability, Post Offices – it never seems to stop…

Sunday trading liberalisation defeated

On Wednesday, the Government’s back door attempt to sneak through an extension to Sunday Trading was defeated by a substantial majority. Whilst Christian Today proclaimed “Christian campaigners hail ‘victory’ as government defeated on Sunday trading“, in practice the success of David Burrowes’ amendment was achieved through the non-selection of the manuscript amendments offering Government concessions, which may have swayed some of the Tory rebels, and the support of the SNP members: perhaps the Lords Spiritual had prayed for “deliverance from EVEL” – ‘English Votes for English Laws’ – under which Scottish MPs are excluded from voting in many other parts of the Bill. However, others might also point to the role of the Speaker in these two aspects of the proceedings.

Planning minister Brandon Lewis was reported as saying that “We respect the view of the House of Parliament. The Commons has spoken and given a very clear view – we have to absolutely respect that.” Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 21st February

The start of the in-out referendum campaign and the UKSC redefines the law on joint enterprise – but there was some law & religion news as well… 

The Prime Minister and the EU

On Friday the Prime Minister announced that he had concluded an agreement with the other EU Heads of Government that he could recommend in the forthcoming referendum campaign, which is to be held on 23 June (when around 135,000 people will be at the second day of Glastonbury 2016). EU membership (or, indeed, non-membership) is incredibly important: however, there are lot of other places such as Reimagining Europe in which to discuss it – and we don’t propose to do so.

Euro myths and legends

However, we will be keeping track on “Euro myths and legends” as far as they impact on “law and religion”; in view of the PM’s announcement, an increase in the misinformation regarding the European Union from the “red tops” and other is to be expected, for which the blog on the European Commission’s UK website and Full Fact [“We’ll supply the facts, you supply the opinion”] are essential reading. As a rule of thumb one should query any media headlines that INSIST on capitalization of headlines concerning the EU, or include the words “Brussels”, “barmy”, or “bananas”. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 7th February

“Brexit”, an unexpected snag in the Ashers Bakery case, further documentation on the George Bell saga – and an impending drought at the House of Commons?

In or out?

Much the biggest news of the past week was the draft proposal circulated by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, in response to the UK’s request for renegotiation of the terms of its EU membership. It will be considered in detail by the 27 other members states ahead of the European Council meeting on 18-19 February.

“Gay cake” row remains unresolved

On Wednesday the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland announced that the appeal against DJ Brownlie’s judgment in Lee v Ashers Baking Co Ltd & Anor [2015] NICty 2 has been adjourned for three months, following a last-minute intervention by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, John Larkin QC, on the issue of compatibility between Northern Ireland’s equality legislation and the European Convention on Human Rights. At a short hearing in the Court of Appeal Morgan LCJ, in a polite judicial understatement, described the lateness of the intervention as “most unfortunate”.

For a thoughtful reflection on the issue see Nick Spencer of Theos: Storm in a Gay Cake Tin. We aren’t sure we agree with him but, as Frank observed elsewhere, the balance between free speech and hate/offensive speech is an incredibly difficult one to strike – and it’s not clear we’ve managed to strike it yet. Continue reading