Law and religion round-up – 24th September

A very quiet week – except in Florence…

Brexit

From the Prime Minister’s speech in Florence on Friday:

“Where there is uncertainty around underlying EU law, I want the UK courts to be able to take into account the judgments of the European Court of Justice with a view to ensuring consistent interpretation. On this basis, I hope our teams can reach firm agreement quickly.” 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Also on Monday, we reported the case of a husband and wife who had withdrawn their six-year-old son from his Church of England primary school after a boy in his class was allowed to wear a dress to school.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

Law and religion round-up – 27th August

“The (Great) Clock hath ceased to sound, The long day closes”

Henry Fothergill Chorley & Arthur Sullivan, (1868)

… but midday on 21st August had nothing to do with Brexit – or ecclesiastical law for that matter – unless it provides a segue into a reprise of one of our posts on bells, the closure of the Whitechapel bell foundry, or recent events at York Minster; Sullivan’s part-song The Long Day Closes had a degree of popularity at events of mourning, and was often sung at funerals of members of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. However, Frank’s And finally, below, places Monday’s media and political nonsense into context.

Brexit and the UK courts

On Wednesday, the Government published its position paper on post-Brexit relations between the UK and the Court of Justice of the European Union: we noted it briefly here.  The pledge to bring an end to “the direct jurisdiction of the Court” led critics to argue that the inclusion of the word “direct” leaves room for the CJEU to continue to influence UK jurisprudence. Tobias Lock has posted a helpful preliminary analysis on Verfassungsblog. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 20th August

Same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, representing Islam, charities & politics,  burqas in Oz – and religious sensibilities on eBay…

….preceded yesterday’s weekend supplement of recent queries and comments

Following our initial collection of queries and comments in last week’s round-up, we compiled further “Quick Answers”  which provide links within the blog to questions which have arisen from searches of, or comments during the past few days or so. This week these included: the common-law right to burial for suicides and the unbaptized; confession in the CofE; Methodist supernumeraries; the UK government review of sharia; s77 building act 1984; the EU-wide definition of ‘marriage’ and ‘family’, and much, much more. The content of these occasional “Saturday Supplements” does not necessarily represent our most-read blogs, but reflects current interests of readers accessing the site on (mostly) contemporary issues.

Setback for campaigners for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

On Thursday, judgment was handed down in the High Court in Belfast on two cases challenging Northern Ireland’s ban on same-sex marriage. A joint claim had been brought by two couples in civil partnerships and a further claim had been brought by a couple who married in England and who want their marriage legally recognised in Northern Ireland.  Continue reading

Australian Royal Commission recommends lifting seal of confessional

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has published its final recommendations on Criminal Justice. One is of particular interest: the section entitled Failure to report offence recommends “the introduction of a new criminal offence of failure to report targeted at child sexual abuse in an institutional context (recommendation 33)”. In particular, it proposes that clergy should no longer be permitted to refuse to disclose offending on the grounds that they came by the information in the course of a confession:

Continue reading

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].

Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 30th July

A busy week, dominated by the tragic case of Charlie Gard.

Charlie Gard

We have been following the recent Charlie Gard case, but we refrained from reporting on day-to-day developments in the case because we felt that the issues involved were beyond our remit and the medical aspects were well outside our specific expertise. In his judgment in Great Ormond Street Hospital v Gard [2017] EWHC 1909 (Fam) Mr Justice Francis commented:

“A lot of things have been said, particularly in recent days, by those who know almost nothing about this case but who feel entitled to express opinions. Many opinions have been expressed based on feelings rather than facts” [1].

“The world of social media doubtless has very many benefits but one of its pitfalls, I suggest, is that when cases such as this go viral, the watching world feels entitled to express opinions, whether or not they are evidence-based” [11]. Continue reading