Ecclesiastical court judgments – December

Review of the ecclesiastical court judgments during December 2017

Attached are summaries to consistory court judgments published in December. Additional judgments for December will be posted with those for January 2018.  Continue reading

Appeal on Bath Abbey pews?

Victorian Society announce application of leave to appeal

Following a two-day consistory court hearing in October, on 18 December 2017 the Chancellor of the Diocese of Bath and Wells granted permission for the permanent removal of the pews from the nave of Bath Abbey and their replacement with chairs in the main body of the church once the historic floor has been repaired, Re: The Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Bath (Bath Abbey) [2017] ECC B&Wl. In its Press Release of 10 January, the Victorian Society announced that it had applied for leave to appeal the judgment. Continue reading

Clerical abuse of spiritual power and authority

Tribunal finds priest guilty of abuse of spiritual power and authority

On Monday 8th January, the Church of England reported the findings of the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Oxford in the matter of a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 against The Reverend Timothy Davis, Vicar of Christ Church Abingdon, (‘TD’), in respect of the mentoring he provided to a 15/16 year old schoolboy (‘W1’) whose family were members of his congregation. The BBC reports that Church of England officials believed that this was the first occasion on which a tribunal had convicted a priest of spiritual abuse. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 7th January

Marriage and parochial fees, Gift Aid, Scientologists, hijabs, Brexit – and priority for Buddhist monks…

Marriage certificates

The Sunday Times reported (£) on New Year’s Eve that the Home Office is likely to approve the inclusion of mothers’ names on marriage certificates. According to the report, “A Home Office source told The Sunday Times the proposal had been ‘signed off’, and a spokeswoman confirmed that it wanted to include mothers’ details. These will also appear on civil partnership certificates.”

The issue is currently the subject of two identical private Member’s bills tabled by Dame Caroline Spelman in the Commons and by the Bishop of St Albans in the Lords. The Lords bill is to have its second reading debate on 26 January.

“Get me to the church on time”

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Brides who arrive late

Parochial fees, discounts and “extras”

On 4 January 2018, the Daily Telegraph carried the headline Church imposes £100 fine for brides who arrive late to their own weddings. Canon John Corbyn, vicar of Holy Cross Church Bearsted, Kent, was reported to have suggested the imposition of a “£100 fine for those who can not stick to their allotted time slot and arrive late to their service”.  Subsequently, it appeared as though he may have been slightly misrepresented; he told the BBC that what he does is to offer a £100 “cashback” for punctuality.

Regardless of the exact facts of this particular case, in view of the media interest it is pertinent to consider to whether, in general, such a surcharge or reduction in fees is permissible under ecclesiastical law; the answer appears to be: “sort of”.  Continue reading

Religious marriage of same-sex couples

One we should have carried earlier – Sero Sed Serio

Towards the end of 2017, researchers at the Universities of York and Leeds published the results of their recent work in the snappily-titled report Religious marriage of same-sex couples: A report on places of worship in England and Wales registered for the solemnization of same-sex marriage. They found that same-sex couples who wish to marry by way of a religious ceremony in England and Wales are at a significant disadvantage compared with different-sex couples since they have little opportunity to marry in a place of worship or by way of a religious ceremony.

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Law and religion round-up – 31st December

and so, as the reality of the Article 50 of time confronts the fantasy of “excruciating detail”, we round off another year of L&RUK with a miscellany of recent news…

What the rule of law is really about

On 22 December, the First President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland, Professor Dr Małgorzata Gersdorf, published an open letter on the recent reforms of the judiciary. President Andrzej Duda has signed into law two bills reforming the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary: one allows politicians to choose members of the judiciary council, which appoints judges and the other, by lowering the retirement age for Supreme Court judges, would remove about 40 per cent of the current Court.

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