Law and religion round-up – 7th January

Marriage and parochial fees, Gift Aid, Scientologists, hijabs, Brexit – and priority for Buddhist monks…

Marriage certificates

The Sunday Times reported (£) on New Year’s Eve that the Home Office is likely to approve the inclusion of mothers’ names on marriage certificates. According to the report, “A Home Office source told The Sunday Times the proposal had been ‘signed off’, and a spokeswoman confirmed that it wanted to include mothers’ details. These will also appear on civil partnership certificates.”

The issue is currently the subject of two identical private Member’s bills tabled by Dame Caroline Spelman in the Commons and by the Bishop of St Albans in the Lords. The Lords bill is to have its second reading debate on 26 January.

“Get me to the church on time”

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Law and religion round-up – 29th October

An incredibly busy week, but at least everyone’s had an extra hour in bed…

(Un)protected beliefs

In a judgment of 13 October, Mr S T Uncles v NHS Commissioning Board and others [2017] UKET 1800958/2016, an Employment Tribunal held that a “philosophical belief in English nationalism” was not a protected characteristic in the terms of s10 Equality Act 2010. The ET applied the test in Grainger Plc & Ors v Nicholson [2009] UKEAT 0219/09/0311 and concluded that, though the views expressed were genuinely held, were a belief about a weighty and substantial aspect of human life – namely national identity – and were serious, cohesive and important, they were nevertheless incompatible with the human dignity and fundamental rights of others. The claim failed: we noted it here. Continue reading

Churches, employment and Real-Time Information for PAYE: update

This updates the information in the 2013 post on Real-Time Information and filing for employees’ PAYE which came into operation on 6 April of that year: the earlier post has been taken down. We’re afraid it’s just as boring as its predecessor…

PAYE and Real-Time Information: the background

PAYE began in 1944 and has changed very little in broad outline since its introduction over seventy years ago. At that time, work patterns were fairly static, jobs were often for life, and part-time, flexible working and multiple employments were much more the exception than they are now – which meant that the in-year estimation of tax liability based on a tax code was usually a fairly reasonable prediction of actual annual liability. As employment patterns became more complex, the system began to show increasing signs of strain. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 17th September

Brexit (inevitably), school dress codes, clergy employment, humanist marriage, religious karaoke – another mixed bag…

Brexit

On Monday, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was given its second reading: Ayes, 326: Noes: 290. The Bill stands committed to a Committee of the whole House for eight days of detailed debate.

The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government both declined to recommend that legislative consent be given to the Bill by their legislatures unless it is amended to address their specific concerns.

Primary school uniform

Also on Monday, we reported the case of a husband and wife who had withdrawn their six-year-old son from his Church of England primary school after a boy in his class was allowed to wear a dress to school. Continue reading

“Jewish” by consent – or not? Perelman v Germany

Answer: we shall never know – or, at any rate, this case does not resolve the question.

Background

The applicants, Bluma and Alain Perelman, are French nationals who live in Frankfurt am Main. When they moved there in 2002, they registered their residence with the local authorities and both indicated “Mosaic” in the field for “religion”. A few months later they received a letter from the Frankfurt Jewish community welcoming them as new members – which they refused. The community did not accept their objection and, as a precautionary measure, they resigned their membership with effect from the end of October 2003. The Frankfurt tax office then levied church tax on their income for the period from November 2002 to October 2003 – and they brought an action for a declaration that they had not been members of the Jewish community during that period. Continue reading

Religion, real property, the EU and State aid: Congregación de Escuelas Pías Provincia Betania

Article IV of the Agreement of 3 January 1979 (“the Agreement”) between the Spanish State and the Holy See concerning financial matters provides that:

“1. The Holy See, the Bishops’ Conference, dioceses, parishes and other territorial units, religious orders and congregations and ‘institutes of consecrated life’ and their provinces and houses shall be entitled to the following exemptions:

(A) …

(B) full and permanent exemption from taxes on property and earnings from property, as regards income and assets.

This exemption shall not apply to income arising from economic activities or from assets belonging to the Church in respect of which use has been assigned to third parties; nor shall it apply to capital gains or to income which is subject to deduction at source of income tax.”

The Congregación de Escuelas Pías Provincia Betania is on the register of religious entities kept by the Spanish Ministry of Justice and the Agreement applies to it. It owns a complex of buildings in Getafe and La Inmaculada school, which is run by the Congregation, is part of that complex [13]. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 30th April

Parliament was prorogued on Thursday ahead of dissolution on 3 May …

… but first, 

… there were several key pieces of legislation, of which there is a full list in Hansard, here.

Among the bills that survived the pre-Election frenzy, a truncated Finance Bill left out the trigger to start HMRC’s ‘Making Tax Digital’ initiative, no doubt to the relief of small charities everywhere. But it will almost certainly be back on the agenda in due course, whatever the election result.

Parliament also passed the Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointments and Regional Rates) Bill: a piece of emergency legislation which retrospectively resets the “14-day clock” in the Northern Ireland Act 1998 that expired on 27 March and replaced it with a 108-day grace period ending on 29 June. The duty on the Secretary of State to set a date for a new Assembly election is therefore suspended, at least for a period, and he can continue negotiations over power-sharing. Continue reading