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

Law and religion round-up – 19th November

A week in which Aussies voted in favour of same-sex marriage, a report on charity trustees confirmed what we already knew and the C of E ran into an unexpected storm…

New research on charity trustees in England and Wales

The Charity Commission has published a report into trusteeship, Taken on Trust: the Awareness and Effectiveness of Charity Trustees in England & Wales which calls for changes in the way boards are recruited and supported. The report, which is based on research carried out by a team led by Professor Stephen Lee, of the Cass Business School, concludes that there are 150,000 fewer trustees in England and Wales than was previously believed, that payment of trustees remains relatively rare, with only 2,000 charities – 1.6 per cent – paying their trustees, and that boards of trustees are still disproportionately middle-class, white, male and elderly. [Full disclosurethis item is written by a white, male, elderly, middle-class charity trustee…] Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 12th November

 This week we were reminded that a “fulsome” apology meant a “sickeningly obsequious” one: aside from which there were a number of disparate issues that added up to a lengthy round-up…

Uber loses its appeal

Taxi firm Uber has lost its appeal against a ruling that its drivers should be treated as workers rather than self-employed. Last year, an Employment Tribunal ruled that Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam were employed by Uber and therefore entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the National Living Wage. Uber appealed, arguing that its drivers were self-employed and were under no obligation to use its booking app. In the Employment Appeal Tribunal, HHJ Eady was satisfied that the ET had not erred either in its approach or in its conclusions when it rejected Uber’s argument that it was simply connecting independent drivers with customers, Unsurprisingly, Uber has announced that it will appeal against the latest ruling.

Which has more to do with “religion” than you might think.  Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 5th November

A week in which the Westminster sexual exploitation scandal continued to claim scalps, there was an important report on House of Lords reform – and Brexit rumbled on…

Victimisation and public interest disclosure in school

In Miss S Bi v E-ACT (England and Wales: Public Interest Disclosure: Race Discrimination: Religion or Belief Discrimination) [2017] UKET 1304471/2015, the ET upheld the claim of Ms Suriyah Bi, a Muslim teaching assistant, that her dismissal  constituted victimisation under ss.27 and 39 Equality Act 2010 Continue reading

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

Law and religion round-up – 22nd October

A week in which the main theme seemed to be discrimination on grounds of gender or sexual orientation

Church of England to debate blessings for same-sex couples?

Last week, as we noted, the Hereford Diocesan Synod passed a resolution requesting the House of Bishops to initiate the formulation of a discretionary liturgy for use following the registration of a civil partnership or a same-sex marriage. The BBC subsequently reported this under the headline Church of England to discuss same-sex blessing, stating that “The general synod will now debate a form of service described as ‘neither contrary to nor a departure from’ the doctrine of the church”. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 15th October

Sero sed serio…

… as until Friday, we thought it was going to be a quiet week for news, despite the MPs’ return to Parliament after the break for Party Conferences. In addition to our Saturday posts on Sex segregation in school, and the disposal of Ian Brady’s remains, reviewed below, shortly after the publication of this round-up, the Church of England issued a statement concerning the meditation that had taken place with the sexual abuse survivor known as “Gilo”; this prompted a response from Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc.

Sex segregation in school

On Friday, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services And Skills v The Interim Executive Board of Al-Hijrah School [2017] EWCA Civ 1426. The issue of principle before the Court was

“whether it is direct discrimination, contrary to sections 13 and 85 of the Equality Act 2010 for a mixed-sex school to have a complete segregation of male and female pupils over a certain age for all lessons, breaks, school clubs and trips” [1]. Continue reading