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

Second Church Estates Commissioner’s questions, 26 October

Yesterday, 26 October, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman, answered oral questions in the House of Commons [links available from here].

In answer to a question from Helen Goodman (Bishop Auckland) (Lab) on the vexed issue of the closure of the Heritage Lottery Fund strand for listed places of worship, she said that the Church still regretted the decision by the HLF to close the Grants for Places of Worship Scheme but that the Church Buildings Council was in close discussion with the HLF about a way forward. Continue reading

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

“Volunteering”: Saturday musings on the newly-announced review

DCMS has commissioned Steve Holliday, former CEO of National Grid plc, to chair an independent Full-Time Social Action Review. The review will consider what the voluntary sector, industry and, if needed, Government can do to support full-time volunteering, defined as at least 16 hours a week of social action activities on average, for 6 months or more. The review intends to consult the voluntary sector, young people, employment and regulatory experts, economists and parliamentarians. Continue 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

House of Commons private Members’ ballot bills

The House of Commons private Members’ ballot bills were presented yesterday. Two of them may be of particular interest to readers:

  • [No 5]: Tim Loughton’s Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc.): “Bill to provide that opposite sex couples may enter a civil partnership; to make provision about the registration of the names of the mother of each party to a marriage or civil partnership; to make provision about the registration of stillborn deaths; to give coroners the power to investigate stillborn deaths; and for connected purposes”  – to be read a second time on Friday 2 February 2018 (Bill 11); and
  • [No 6] Geoffrey Robinson’s Organ Donation (Deemed Consent): “Bill to enable persons in England to withhold consent for organ donation and transplantation; and for connected purposes” – to be read a second time on Friday 23 February 2018 (Bill 12).

Continue reading