UKIP, niqabs, burqas – and bans

UKIP has made a commitment in its Manifesto to ban the public wearing of the burqa and niqab. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, UKIP’s leader, Paul Nuttall, said wearing a burqa or niqab in public was a barrier to integration and a security risk and that Muslim women who defied the ban would face a fine. Somewhat counter-intuitively, he also told Andrew Marr that “Manfred Weber, who’s the leader of the biggest group in the European Parliament, is now talking about an EU-wide ban. We can either be on the curve on this or behind the curve.” UKIP also proposes to outlaw sharia in the UK, though Nuttall told Marr that there were no proposals to ban Jewish religious courts because the Jewish population was smaller than the Muslim population.

All of which is interesting. A general ban on face-covering in public would no doubt survive a challenge at Strasbourg and probably at Luxembourg as well: see S.A.S, Achbita and Bougnaoui. There is, however, a slight snag with a UK-wide ban: 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

Law and religion round-up – 5th February

Brexit yet again, child abuse, abortion, deposition from Orders – the usual mix…

Brexit yet again

On Friday, the Administrative Court threw out the latest Brexit challenge by a group led by Peter Wilding and Adrian Yalland. They argued that, under the terms of Article 127 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, Parliament should give separate approval to the UK’s exit from the EEA.

Lloyd-Jones LJ and Lewis J concluded that the Government had not made a decision “as to the mechanism by which the EEA agreement would cease to apply within the UK”. As a result, it was not clear at this stage what issues, if any, would fall within the jurisdiction of the courts. All we have at the moment is press reports: we’ll be interested to see the written judgment.

‘EU Withdrawal Bill’ – Second Reading and White Paper Continue reading

Gender dysphoria, family breakdown and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

Background

In J v B (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender) [2017] EWFC 4, the couple, who were members of the North Manchester Charedi Jewish community, ended their marriage in June 2015 when the father, J, left home to live as a woman. J then had no contact with the children because of the attitude of the Charedi community to transsexuals [3 & 4]. J nevertheless “remained an Orthodox Jew, maintaining a kosher diet to the best of her ability and attending Orthodox synagogue when she could” [60]. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 22nd January

A fairly quiet week for the blog, but certainly not for politics…

Brexit

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister unveiled her plans for Brexit – or at least her desiderata. We summarised the main points here. To describe reactions as “mixed” is something of an understatement.

Northern Ireland elections

As expected, the power-sharing Executive in Belfast duly collapsed. Minutes after the deadline for a nomination to replace Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister had passed, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, announced that elections for Stormont would take place on 2 March. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 18th December

Brexit, Brexit, yet more Brexit, IICSA soldiers on – and the Joint Committee on Human Rights turns a beady eye on suspending the ECHR in times of conflict

Brexit

Robert Craig, of the LSE Law School, has produced an extraordinarily helpful summary of the proceedings before the UKSC in Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union:

  • Day 1: Initial Statement and the Attorney General.
  • Day 2: James Eadie QC, the Advocate General for Scotland, the Attorney General for Northern Ireland and Lord Pannick QC.
  • Day 3: Lord Pannick QC, Dominic Chambers QC, David Scoffield, Ronan Lavery QC and the Lord Advocate.
  • Day 4: the Lord Advocate, Richard Gordon QC, Helen Mountfield QC, Manjit Gill QC, Patrick Green QC, Advocate-General for Scotland and James Eadie QC.

Brexit – II

Whilst government continues to struggle with the meaning of “Brexit”, the word has now entered the Oxford English DictionaryContinue reading