Law and religion round-up – 21st May

And as the Election campaign grinds on… 

General Election 2017

The three main UK parties’ manifestos are now published: Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat. Unsurprisingly, there is little about “religion” in any of them; however, the Lib Dems have said that, if elected, they will introduce opposite-sex civil partnerships, while the Tories seem to have put the “British Bill of Rights” on the back burner for the whole of the next Parliament.

Prime Minister answers LGBT questions from Pink News readers

Theresa May answered questions posted by Pink News readers on a range of LGBT issues ahead of the General Election. Continue reading

Objection to episcopal election in the Anglican Church of Canada

The Anglican Church of Canada has issued the following press release:

House of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC & Yukon registers objection to election of the Rev. Jacob Worley

For immediate release

The House of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of BC & Yukon in the Anglican Church of Canada has registered its objection to the episcopal election of the Rev. Jacob Worley in the Diocese of Caledonia. Their objection is registered under Canon 4 (b) vi  “That he or she teaches or holds or within five years previously taught or held anything contrary to the Doctrine or Discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.

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Law and religion round-up – 23rd April

A week dominated by…

…the General Election, June 2017

On 18 April we published a short post on the announcement by the Prime Minister of her intention to move a motion for an early election in the House of Commons on the following day, under the provisions of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. The House of Commons Library immediately published a helpful short guide to the election, and for anoraks, it answers the question: Will the Manchester Gorton by-election go ahead? vide infra. The House of Commons Library has also produced a briefing on the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

On 12:57 pm on 19 April, the Prime Minister moved “That there shall be an early parliamentary general election”. [HC Hansard, 19 April Vol 624 Col 681]. After a 90-minute debate, the House divided: Ayes: 522; Noes: 13.  Continue reading

Supreme Court of Canada to review congregational expulsion: Highwood Congregation v Wall

In Wall v Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses 2016 ABCA 255 (CanLII), Mr Wall had sought judicial review of his expulsion from the Highwood Congregation. A chambers judge had concluded that the Court of Queen’s Bench had jurisdiction to hear the application and the Court of Appeal of Alberta (Paperny & Rowbotham JJ: Wakeling JA dissenting) upheld that ruling, concluding that

“… a court has jurisdiction to review the decision of a religious organization when a breach of the rules of natural justice is alleged … We note as well that the respondent appears to have exhausted all avenues of appeal within the church so jurisdiction could also be found on that basis” [22].

The case was remitted to the Court of Queen’s Bench to be heard by a judge other than the chambers judge, but on 13 April the Highwood Congregation was granted leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Canada: see Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses v Randy Wall, 2017 CanLII 20389 (SCC). Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 5th March

Brexit rumbles on, but perhaps the most important event of the week was the outcome of the Northern Ireland Assembly Election – on which we would not presume to comment…

Son (or more accurately daughter) of Miller?

Gina Miller, who mounted the successful challenge in the Supreme Court to the Prime Minister’s proposal to trigger Article 50 TEU by using the Royal Prerogative, has said that she is looking at launching a new challenge if Parliament is not given a vote on the final terms of Brexit. Speaking to Bloomberg, Ms Miller explained: Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 12th February

Short form judgments, bats, child abduction and polygamy… 

Short form judgments

The Master of the Rolls has asked his colleagues in the Court of Appeal to issue shorter judgments where there are no issues of law or principle or of wider general significance and where all the relevant facts are set out in the judgment of the court below and are not disputed in the appeal. A Judicial Office spokesman said that in such cases:

“it may be possible to avoid reciting all the facts, the course of the proceedings and the judgments below, and proceed, after a brief introduction, to a statement of the decision on the principal arguments on the appeal and the outcome of the appeal.” 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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