Law and religion round-up – 26th March

A week in which events were totally overshadowed by the attack in Westminster

A thoughtful consideration of those events from an insider’s point of view was presented by the Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, in his Yorkshire Post article From a Palace of democracy to an Abbey of prayer, the best and worst of humanity, written just two hours after the end of the lockdown of parliamentarians and others, who had been transferred to Westminster Abbey.

Progress on Brexit

Prior to the Commons consideration of the Pension Schemes Bill [Lords] and the subsequent adjournment and lockdown of the parliamentary estate, a first reading was given to Tim Farron’s Ten Minute Rule Bill, Terms of Withdrawal from the European Union (Referendum). A second reading was scheduled for Friday 12 May – although its chances of becoming law are zero. Continue reading

Archbishops write to Independent Reviewer re: Sheffield See

In our 11 March post we expressed our agreement with the comments in Dr Sentamu’s  announcement that “there must now be time for us all to reflect” on events in Sheffield and in the wider Church”; we also suggested that it would be appropriate to refer the matter for assessment by the Independent Reviewer, Sir Philip Mawer under the terms of paragraph 27 in the House of Bishops Declaration GS Misc 1087:

Today, the Archbishops of Canterbury and of York issued the following joint statement indicating that they had written to Sir Philip Mawer to address the concerns that have arisen in the Church following recent events.

Continue reading

The Bishop of the River of Hippopotamuses and the Archbishop of Cape Town

In a guest post, David Scrooby, an attorney of the Republic of South Africa, discusses a highly unusual recent case – the first of its kind in over 150 years… 

Introduction

The case of Bishop Mlibo Ngewu v The Anglican Church of Southern Africa and Ten Others [2016] ZAKZPHC 88 is about the first canonical trial of a Bishop in Southern Africa since that of Bishop Colenso in 1864. The judgment of Her Ladyship Sharmaine Balton J, handed down in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg on 6 October 2016, may not have the impact of that of the Privy Council in 1865 (to which Colenso appealed) or the canonical depth of that of the South African Labour Court in Cape Town in Church of the Province of Southern Africa, Diocese of Cape Town v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and Others [2001] ZALC 141. However, the judgment is important in a number of respects. Continue reading

The Stirrings in Sheffield

The See of Sheffield: What next?

On 8 March, the Rt Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, announced his decision that he felt unable to take up the nomination as Bishop of Sheffield; he commented that the news of his nomination had elicited a strong reaction within the diocese and some areas of the wider Church, and included highly individualised attacks upon him. The announcement from No 10 stated: “[t]he Archbishop of York will in due course submit the name of an alternative candidate for this diocese”. In view of the complexities involved in the appointment of diocesan bishops, it would be unwise to read too much into this gobbet of “civil servant speak”; this post examines what is, and what is not known of the next steps in the appointment of a bishop in the See of Sheffield. Continue reading

Statement from Philip North on withdrawal of acceptance of nomination to See of Sheffield

The Church of England has released the following statement by the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, on his decision to withdraw his acceptance of nomination to the See of Sheffield:

“It is with regret and sadness that I have decided that I am unable to take up the nomination as Bishop of Sheffield.

The news of my nomination has elicited a strong reaction within the diocese and some areas of the wider Church. It is clear that the level of feeling is such that my arrival would be counter-productive in terms of the mission of the Church in South Yorkshire and that my leadership would not be acceptable to many. Continue reading

Newsflash: Philip North withdraws acceptance of nomination

The Prime Minister’s Office has just released the following:

9 March 2017 at 5:12pm

The Right Reverend Philip John North was nominated as Bishop of Sheffield but later withdrew his acceptance of the nomination.

9 March 2017 update: The Rt Rev Philip North has withdrawn, for personal reasons, acceptance of his nomination by the Crown Nominations Commission as the next Bishop of Sheffield. The Archbishop of York will in due course submit the name of an alternative candidate for this diocese.