The Charity Commission and the Annual Return 2018

In September 2017, the Charity Commission announced a consultation on the content of the charity Annual Return for 2018 (AR18). The Commission has now published the results of that consultation in the form of the Charities (Annual Return) Regulations 2017, which came into force on New Year’s Day: the questions to be answered are listed in a Schedule to the Regulations. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 3rd December

A relationships-dominated round-up, from cohabiting via prenups to divorce

Baroness Hale calls for no-fault divorce

In an interview in The Times (£), the President of the Supreme Court has called for the reform of divorce law in England and Wales and said that it is time to look again at proposals made when she was at the Law Commission in the 1990s, suggesting that divorcing couples do not want to allege fault and that “it ups the ante. It is a difficult time for everybody”: Continue reading

Nuffield Foundation report calls for no-fault divorce

Today, the Nuffield Foundation has published a report, Finding Fault, which calls for the introduction of no-fault divorce in England and Wales: there is a summary version here.

Divorce affects more than 100,000 families in England and Wales every year. Under the current law, the sole ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.  S.1 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 sets out the position as follows: Continue reading

Marriage law reform for England & Wales put on hold

Readers may remember that in December 2014 the Government asked the Law Commission to conduct a review of the law governing how and where people can marry in England and Wales. The question underlying the review was whether the current law provides a fair and coherent legal framework for enabling people to marry. Continue reading

Charity Commission monitoring report on Plymouth Brethren Christian Church

The Charity Commission for England and Wales has published a second monitoring report on the activities of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, on which  Nick Kenchington has provided the following guest post.


in January 2014, the Charity Commission for England and Wales agreed to accept an application for registration from the Preston Down Trust of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC). In February 2016, the Commission published its first monitoring report on the activities of the Trust, (registered charity no. 1155382) and the newly-registered PBBC. Continue reading

Use of church buildings: update of “toolkit”

A date for the diary and a web page to watch

The Communications Director of the Hereford Diocese, Catherine Cashmore, has issued the Press Release New guide to developing a place of worship for community use on an updated version of the snappily titled ‘Crossing the Threshold: a step by step guide to developing your place of worship for wider community use and managing successful building projects’, which is being undertaken in partnership with the Diocese of Hereford.  Continue reading

Assisted dying: appeal allowed in R (Conway)

As regular readers will be aware, Mr Noel Conway suffers from motor neurone disease, and while he retains the capacity to make the decision, he wishes to enlist the assistance of a medical professional to bring about his death in a peaceful and dignified way. He applied unsuccessfully for judicial review to seek a declaration under s 4(2) Human Rights Act 1998 that s 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 – which provides that a person commits a criminal offence if he or she does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person and their act was intended to encourage or assist suicide or an attempt at suicide – is incompatible with the ECHR. S 2(1). In [2017] EWHC 640 (Admin), Burnett LJ and Jay J refused his application: Charles J dissented. We noted it here.

In this latest judgment however, R (Conway) v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWCA Civ 275, McFarlane and Beatson LJJ concluded that permission to appeal and permission to apply for judicial review should be granted, and they remitted the matter to the Divisional Court to hear and determine the case. Continue reading