Law and religion round-up – 13th August

Blasphemy in Ireland, flying spaghetti in Germany, silly hats in Canada – just a typical week…

Ireland’s blasphemy laws “least restrictive in the world”? Possibly, but…

The Report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom 2017 noted that

“many countries in Western Europe, including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, and Italy, retain legislation on blasphemy, defamation of religion, or ‘anti-religious remarks’, though these laws are seldom enforced. In one promising development, Ireland’s coalition government announced in May 2016 its intention to hold a referendum on the removal of its blasphemy law” [212].

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Banns of marriage – their development and future

Introduction

The legal requirement to read banns for couples intending to marry in church services was considered by members of the Church of England General Synod on 14 February 2017. Though Synod rejected moves that sought to end this “ecclesiastical preliminary” to marriage, important arguments were cited both for their retention and for their removal. In this post, we summarize the development and current usage in England and Wales, Scotland and the two jurisdictions in Ireland, and examine possible future directions. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 5th February

Brexit yet again, child abuse, abortion, deposition from Orders – the usual mix…

Brexit yet again

On Friday, the Administrative Court threw out the latest Brexit challenge by a group led by Peter Wilding and Adrian Yalland. They argued that, under the terms of Article 127 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, Parliament should give separate approval to the UK’s exit from the EEA.

Lloyd-Jones LJ and Lewis J concluded that the Government had not made a decision “as to the mechanism by which the EEA agreement would cease to apply within the UK”. As a result, it was not clear at this stage what issues, if any, would fall within the jurisdiction of the courts. All we have at the moment is press reports: we’ll be interested to see the written judgment.

‘EU Withdrawal Bill’ – Second Reading and White Paper Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 20th November

A week of necessary and disingenuous anonymity, IICSA disarray, and Brexit sniping

Miller, Brexit and Lady Hale

On 9 November in Kuala Lumpur, Lady Hale delivered the Sultan Azlan Shah Lecture 2016, The Supreme Court: Guardian of the Constitution?, and caused something of a stir. In the course of her lecture, she referred to the recent proceedings in the Divisional Court in Miller and suggested that the European Union Referendum Act 2015 had not produced a result that was legally binding on Parliament. Which, one might think, was a statement of the obvious, because there is no binding mechanism in the Act. ObiterJ has posted a full analysis of her speech on his Law and Lawyers blog.

Nevertheless, there were howls of protest: so much so that there were calls for her to recuse herself from the forthcoming appeal. A “Supreme Court spokesman” made a statement on the matter while, in an exclusive in Solicitors Journal, Lady Hale declared that she would “absolutely not” recuse herself, adding, “I have exhibited no bias and those that suggested that I have are simply mistaken.”

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, president of the Supreme Court, is the latest to have been accused of bias, this time by pro-Brexit Conservative MPs on account of him being allegedly compromised by his wife’s views.

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The Queen’s Speech, law and religion

This year’s Queen’s Speech is, of course, almost entirely overshadowed by the forthcoming EU Referendum and the Cabinet divisions that are accompanying it. But the show must go on, even though the plot will unfold against the commitment, reiterated in the Gracious Speech, to continued constraints on public spending:

“My ministers will continue to bring the public finances under control so that Britain [sic] lives within its means”.

Several pieces of legislation were announced that touch on law & religion to a greater or lesser extent: Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 8th May

We spent the latter part of the week at the Cardiff Festival of Law & Religion…

… which, you might think, is an unlikely subject to be festive about. But the purpose ofNorman IMG_1120(4) the Festival was to mark the 25th anniversary of the University of Wales/Cardiff University LLM in Canon Law and to launch The Confluence of Law and Religion (which we have noted previously). If nothing else, the conference showed just how much the field has grown in the last twenty-five years: there was a very big attendance, with scholars coming from as far afield as Australia, Canada and the US, and between them they read about fifty papers. We frequently found ourselves having to choose between two sessions taking place simultaneously, both of which we wanted to attend. Continue reading

Legal protection for historic Welsh churches

New legislation in Wales to protect the historic environment

On 9 February, the Welsh Assembly passed the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill which is now in the four week post-stage 4 period of intimation (10 February – 8 March) in relation to the Assembly’s legislative competence in this area [1]. The Bill was introduced following extensive engagement and consultation with a view to making important amendments to the two principal pieces of legislation – the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 – while also introducing some stand-alone provisions. Continue reading