Law and religion round-up – 25th June

Factual rather than “patriotic” coverage of the week’s events…

EU-UK Brexit talks

Whilst it is premature to comment extensively on the Brexit talks between the UK and the EU, one outcome of Monday’s meeting was agreement on the EU’s insistence on “sequencing”. Article 50 TFEU envisages two agreements: an exit agreement concerning issues relating to the departure of the UK from the EU and an agreement on future relations, which for the UK essentially means trade. David Allen Green comments: ”The UK want(ed) both to be negotiated together, in parallel. The EU wanted a number of preliminary issues discussed before the parties moved on to discussing future trade relations”. The UK’s insistence on “sequencing” was likely to be, in the words of David Davis, “the row of the summer”. However, the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, stated:

“In a first step, we will deal with the most pressing issues. We must lift the uncertainty caused by Brexit. We want to make sure that the withdrawal of the UK happens in an orderly manner. Then, in a second step, we will scope our future relationship.”

This was confirmed by the Department for Exiting the European Union.

The Queen’s Speech and the Great Repeal Bill

The Government’s intention as announced in the Gracious Speech on Wednesday is that the (evidently no longer “Great”) Repeal Bill will allow for a smooth and orderly transition as the UK leaves the EU, ensuring that, wherever practical, the same rules and laws apply after Brexit as before it. The Bill will: Continue reading

Christian prayers in the military: Commodore Royal Bahamas Defence Force

Background

Colours parades have been a tradition in the Royal Bahamian Defence Force since its creation in 1980 and, at some of them, Christian prayers are said at one point in the parade [1]. From 1993 to 2006, pursuant to Coral Harbour Temporary Memorandum No 20/93, non-Christians could excuse themselves by falling out during the prayers and falling back in after them; but that was revoked by a further Temporary Memorandum No 67/06 in 2006 [2].

In Commodore Royal Bahamas Defence Force & Ors v Laramore (Bahamas) [2017] UKPC 13, former Petty Officer Gregory Laramore, a Muslim who objected to being obliged to attend Christian prayers on parade, challenged the constitutionality of the 2006 Memorandum [3]. Continue reading

Newsflash: UKSC to hear appeal in Ashers Baking case

The Belfast Telegraph reports that the Supreme Court is to hear an appeal in the Ashers Baking case,  Lee v McArthur & Ors [2016] NICA 29, though there is nothing yet to that effect on the UKSC website.

Leave had previously been refused by the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal. According to the report, the Court has listed the appeal for a two-day hearing in October.

Ashers Baking refuses order for gay engagement cake

Ashers Baking is in the news again: the Belfast Telegraph reports that Ashers has refused to make an engagement cake with a same-sex marriage slogan. Grainne McCann ordered the cake to celebrate the engagement of her friends Joe Palmer and Andy Wong and paid for it online, only to have her order rejected the next day. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 16th April

“Till trump from east to west, shall wake the dead in number”

“This joyful Eastertide” 
George Ratcliffe Woodward and Charles Wood

Brexit

The European Commission has a new website devoted to Brexit, which will include everything from the latest speeches to official documents as they are published. The sub-section of the main Commission website currently has a chart of the Brexit task force and directs users to the Twitter account of EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, for the latest news.

Abortion and conscientious objection in Sweden

In November 2015 we noted the case of Ms Ellinor Grimmark, a Swedish midwife who objects to abortion because of her Christian beliefs. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 19th March

A week dominated by Brexit, ‘First Minister vs Prime Minister’ and the fall-out from the first judgments of the CJEU on religious manifestation… 

Brexit

As expected, on Monday the Commons rejected the Lords amendments to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, the Lords did not insist on their amendments and the bill passed. So after a total of 70 hours of debate, the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent on Thursday. The BBC reports that the Prime Minister is expected to wait until the end of the month formally to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave.

Meanwhile in Scotland… Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 26th February

Opposite-sex civil partnerships, RE, funny handshakes – and some of the media still don’t understand the difference between Brussels and Strasbourg…

Opposite-sex civil partnerships? Not yet

Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan lost their appeal against the Administrative Court’s refusal to review the Government’s policy on the extension of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples: see Steinfeld & Anor v Secretary of State for Education [2017] EWCA Civ 81: we noted the decision here. Continue reading