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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Wearing religious symbols in court: Hamidović

in Hamidović v Bosnia and Herzegovina [2017] ECHR 1101, the European Court of Human Rights held, by six votes to one, that there had been a violation of Article 9 (thought, conscience and religion) ECHR.

The background

The applicant, Mr Hamidović, is a Muslim. In 2012 he was a witness in the criminal trial of Mr Mevlid Jašarević, a member of the local group advocating the Wahhabi/Salafi version of Islam. The judge ordered him to remove his skullcap and when he refused he was expelled from the courtroom and was subsequently convicted of contempt of court and fined [7]. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 10th December

The usual mix of news that seemed to be important and stuff that simply caught our eye…

Future progress on Brexit

Possibly the most important news of the week – though it impacts on “religion” only tangentially (unless you’re the bishop of four dioceses that straddle the Irish border, in which case it impacts quite strongly) – was the statement on progress in the Brexit negotiations. In brief, the parties have agreed that there will be no hard border between the two parts of Ireland and that the existing rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK citizens living in the (rest of) the EU will be respected. Phew!

The Charity Commission on safeguarding

The Charity Commission has issued a new safeguarding strategy. Continue reading

Silent Borders

Another cross-post in the series that began with Helge Årsheim’s essay on bureaucracy and religion: Lourdes Peroni, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Ghent University’s Human Rights Center, suggests that administrative decisions are not always as “apolitical” as the administrators would seek to claim

Helge Årsheim importantly draws attention to the largely overlooked workings of the “machinery in between” that silently determines the borders of legal religion. I agree with him on the need for more scholarly attention to the bureaucratic apparatus that boringly – but crucially – determines “the shape and scope of religion.”

In my current research on migration and gender, I have been trying to draw international human rights law’s attention to the different kinds of borders that work domestically to limit migrant women’s enjoyment of human rights. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 19th November

A week in which Aussies voted in favour of same-sex marriage, a report on charity trustees confirmed what we already knew and the C of E ran into an unexpected storm…

New research on charity trustees in England and Wales

The Charity Commission has published a report into trusteeship, Taken on Trust: the Awareness and Effectiveness of Charity Trustees in England & Wales which calls for changes in the way boards are recruited and supported. The report, which is based on research carried out by a team led by Professor Stephen Lee, of the Cass Business School, concludes that there are 150,000 fewer trustees in England and Wales than was previously believed, that payment of trustees remains relatively rare, with only 2,000 charities – 1.6 per cent – paying their trustees, and that boards of trustees are still disproportionately middle-class, white, male and elderly. [Full disclosurethis item is written by a white, male, elderly, middle-class charity trustee…] Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 12th November

 This week we were reminded that a “fulsome” apology meant a “sickeningly obsequious” one: aside from which there were a number of disparate issues that added up to a lengthy round-up…

Uber loses its appeal

Taxi firm Uber has lost its appeal against a ruling that its drivers should be treated as workers rather than self-employed. Last year, an Employment Tribunal ruled that Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam were employed by Uber and therefore entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the National Living Wage. Uber appealed, arguing that its drivers were self-employed and were under no obligation to use its booking app. In the Employment Appeal Tribunal, HHJ Eady was satisfied that the ET had not erred either in its approach or in its conclusions when it rejected Uber’s argument that it was simply connecting independent drivers with customers, Unsurprisingly, Uber has announced that it will appeal against the latest ruling.

Which has more to do with “religion” than you might think.  Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 5th November

A week in which the Westminster sexual exploitation scandal continued to claim scalps, there was an important report on House of Lords reform – and Brexit rumbled on…

Victimisation and public interest disclosure in school

In Miss S Bi v E-ACT (England and Wales: Public Interest Disclosure: Race Discrimination: Religion or Belief Discrimination) [2017] UKET 1304471/2015, the ET upheld the claim of Ms Suriyah Bi, a Muslim teaching assistant, that her dismissal  constituted victimisation under ss.27 and 39 Equality Act 2010 Continue reading