Law and religion round-up – 11th March

IICSA begins hearings on the Church of England, Ireland clears the way for a referendum on abortion and the President of the Supreme Court tackles the vexed question of niqabs in court.

Lady Hale on religious dress

The Supreme Court website has posted the text of Lady Hale’s Sultan Azlan Shah Lecture, given at Oxford in January, on religious dress and, in particular, on the vexed issue of Muslim women wearing niqab veils in court. In a nutshell: Continue reading

Recent queries and comments – early-March

More answers to readers’ queries and comments

Here is the early-March compilation of “Quick Answers” to questions which have arisen from searches of, or comments during the past couple of weeks, providing links to our blog posts addressing these issues. As we have noted before, we do not provide answers to questions which are too broad, too cryptic, or are beyond the scope of L&RUK. As before, the topics covered in these occasional posts do not necessarily represent our most-read blogs, but reflects the current interests of readers accessing the site on (mostly) contemporary issues. Continue reading

Church Statement on Matthew Ineson

Following a BBC report this week and comments on social media, the National Safeguarding Team has issued the following statement.

Statement on Matthew Ineson case


Due to a BBC report this week and comments on social media the National Safeguarding Team has issued a statement to clarify details of the case.

Matthew Ineson’s case has been taken very seriously since it came to our attention. The account of the abuse he suffered as a teenager is harrowing and we are aware that the death of his alleged perpetrator, Trevor Devamanikkan, before he could stand trial, was extremely difficult for Matthew Ineson. We were not aware of any previous attempts by Trevor Devamanikkan* on his own life; had we known we obviously would have commissioned a risk assessment. Once the Church was aware of the criminal investigation, the Church made offers of support to Trevor Devamanikkan, which he refused.

We can confirm that the Archbishop of York responded to a letter he received from Matthew Ineson in June 2013, in which Matthew Ineson enclosed a copy of a letter to him from the then Bishop of Sheffield and his own response to the Bishop. The Archbishop did not fail to act on any disclosure made. As the Diocesan Bishop has responsibility for matters such as these in their diocese, this is a matter for the Diocesan Bishop to inform the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (Protecting All God’s Children – the Policy for Safeguarding Children in the Church of England, section 4.5). For this reason, the Archbishop acknowledged Matthew Ineson’s letter and assured him of his prayers.

As regards to a memo addressed to the Archbishop of York in June 2017 which refers to survivors in the plural, the Archbishop of York’s Office have already explained this was simply human error. We have worked closely with the police throughout and we have only ever dealt with one victim. This was double-checked with the police last week.

As we have said before there are currently complaints from Matthew Ineson himself, which are being investigated under the Clergy Discipline Measure. Once these complaints have been dealt with, the Core Group, which is the Church’s response to any allegations of abuse, has already decided that an independent review of the case will be commissioned.

It is not possible to go into any further details of this case.


The BBC report referred to in the statement Police look at bishops’ ‘failure to act’ over sex abuse claims was published on 5 March, and contains the footnote: You can see this story in full on BBC Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire at 19:30 GMT on BBC One on Monday 5 March, or via iPlayer for 30 days afterwards.

Matthew Ineson’s response to the statement from NST is reported in Thinking Anglicans.

*Devamanikkam, not Devamanikkan.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Church Statement on Matthew Ineson" in Law & Religion UK, 8 March 2018,

The Bishop’s vote in Tynwald: Tynwald decides

In two earlier posts – linked below – Peter Edge, Professor of Law at Oxford Brookes, commented on the earlier debates in Tynwald on the position of the Bishop of Sodor and Man. In a cross-post from his own blog, he reports on the conclusion to the debate.

On 21 February 2018, Tynwald voted on the Third Report of the Select Committee on the Functioning of Tynwald. This report, which I have discussed previously, made three recommendations:

(1) that the Tynwald Management Committee should be responsible for overseeing the CPD Programme for Members of Tynwald;

(2) that the Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man should retain his vote in Tynwald, and have the same rights and duties as to voting as other members; and

(3) that the Isle of Man Government should establish an independent review to examine and report on emoluments of Members of Tynwald, having regard to a number of foundational principles.

This note focuses on the second recommendation. Continue reading

Un-stunned meat supply to schools?

Local initiative in the absence of national provisions

Lancashire County Council is in the process of reviewing its current policy on the supply of halal meat to schools, and its on-line consultation is due to close on 7 March. The Council voted to stop supplying un-stunned non-poultry meat to schools and other establishments last October, but in January decided to reconsider its policy after the Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) threatened to seek judicial review of its decision and encourage a boycott of school meals. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 4th March

Coroners, IICSA, diversity, pews – and some of the more puzzling things that people do in church… 

Coronial jurisdiction and the “cab-rank rule”

As readers will recall, the decision of HM Coroner for Inner North London, Ms Mary Hassell, not to prioritise the release of a body for burial to meet the religious needs of the deceased or the deceased’s family, even when doing so would cause no material disadvantage to others, has been challenged by the Adath Yisroel Burial Society and a judicial review hearing is due to take place on 27 and 28 March before Singh LJ.

Joshua Rozenberg reports on the latest state of play in Legal Cheek [see the second part of his post]. Continue reading