Law and religion round-up – 15th October

Sero sed serio…

… as until Friday, we thought it was going to be a quiet week for news, despite the MPs’ return to Parliament after the break for Party Conferences. In addition to our Saturday posts on Sex segregation in school, and the disposal of Ian Brady’s remains, reviewed below, shortly after the publication of this round-up, the Church of England issued a statement concerning the meditation that had taken place with the sexual abuse survivor known as “Gilo”; this prompted a response from Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc.

Sex segregation in school

On Friday, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services And Skills v The Interim Executive Board of Al-Hijrah School [2017] EWCA Civ 1426. The issue of principle before the Court was

“whether it is direct discrimination, contrary to sections 13 and 85 of the Equality Act 2010 for a mixed-sex school to have a complete segregation of male and female pupils over a certain age for all lessons, breaks, school clubs and trips” [1]. Continue reading

Ecclesiastical court judgments – September

Review of the ecclesiastical court judgments during September 2017,

September’s consistory court judgments have addressed the areas listed below. Two petitions were sought by a single churchwarden within the church concerned: Re St. Michael & All Angels Ashton-on-Ribble was initiated during a vacancy and sought permission to remove a lectern, which in the churchwarden’s opinion was taking up space; and Re St. John Out Rawcliffe  in which the churchwarden assumed a new stained glass window could be installed on the basis of the DAC’s recommendation. In Re St. Leonard Ryton on Dunsmore, the Deputy Chancellor approved a memorial which did not conform to the Churchyard Regulations, and consideration was given to the use of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) for replacement of rainwater goods in Re St John the Baptist, Saints Lawrence and Anne, KnowleContinue reading

Law and religion round-up – 17th September

Brexit (inevitably), school dress codes, clergy employment, humanist marriage, religious karaoke – another mixed bag…

Brexit

On Monday, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was given its second reading: Ayes, 326: Noes: 290. The Bill stands committed to a Committee of the whole House for eight days of detailed debate.

The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government both declined to recommend that legislative consent be given to the Bill by their legislatures unless it is amended to address their specific concerns.

Primary school uniform

Also on Monday, we reported the case of a husband and wife who had withdrawn their six-year-old son from his Church of England primary school after a boy in his class was allowed to wear a dress to school. Continue reading

Balancing mission, aesthetics and heritage of parish churches – further considerations

In our post, Balancing mission, aesthetics and heritage of parish churches, we noted that the Church’s consistory courts are frequently required to weigh up the relative merits of proposed building work for repair or modification in terms of their impact on the heritage and aesthetics of the building against its overall mission within the community. Continue reading

Consistory court evidence or “Call My Bluff”: Episode 2

The second of two posts on information submitted as evidence to consistory courts

In the first of our posts, we considered the role of the PCC in the preparation and presentation of information to be submitted to the court; also the importance of consistency both in relation to the petition and more broadly to its previous policies and decisions. The following discussion considers issues beyond the immediate sphere of the incumbent and PCC, and the courts’ approach to expert witnesses, the amenity societies, public petitions and others deemed to have an interest in the proceedings.  Continue reading

Telecommunications equipment in listed places of worship: advice from Historic England

Historic England (HE) has published advice, prepared by Diana Evans, Head of Places of Worship Advice, on its involvement with proposals to install telecommunications equipment. HE is the statutory adviser to local authorities and the five listed denominations in accordance with the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 and the Ecclesiastical Exemption Order 2010. Therefore, if an installation will make changes to historic fabric that could affect the character or significance of a listed building, HE must be consulted – whether a congregation is seeking permission through its denominational advisory body or through the local authority. Continue reading