Law and religion round-up – 11th March

IICSA begins hearings on the Church of England, Ireland clears the way for a referendum on abortion and the President of the Supreme Court tackles the vexed question of niqabs in court.

Lady Hale on religious dress

The Supreme Court website has posted the text of Lady Hale’s Sultan Azlan Shah Lecture, given at Oxford in January, on religious dress and, in particular, on the vexed issue of Muslim women wearing niqab veils in court. In a nutshell: Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 18th February

A week in which it appeared that some people seemed to think that attracting children into church was something to be discouraged…

HM Senior Coroner for Inner North London again

The Law Society Gazette reports that Jeremy Corbyn has entered the fray over the “cab-rank rule” adopted by HM Senior Coroner for Inner North London, Mary Hassell, for processing deaths in her coronial district. According to the report, he and the Shadow Attorney, Emily Thornberry, have written to the Chief Coroner, HHJ Lucraft QC, to the effect that Ms Hassell’s approach is “unacceptable” and that grieving relatives are experiencing “unnecessary delays and barriers to laying loved ones to rest”. Continue reading

Religious marriage of same-sex couples

One we should have carried earlier – Sero Sed Serio

Towards the end of 2017, researchers at the Universities of York and Leeds published the results of their recent work in the snappily-titled report Religious marriage of same-sex couples: A report on places of worship in England and Wales registered for the solemnization of same-sex marriage. They found that same-sex couples who wish to marry by way of a religious ceremony in England and Wales are at a significant disadvantage compared with different-sex couples since they have little opportunity to marry in a place of worship or by way of a religious ceremony.

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Law and religion round-up – 31st December

and so, as the reality of the Article 50 of time confronts the fantasy of “excruciating detail”, we round off another year of L&RUK with a miscellany of recent news…

What the rule of law is really about

On 22 December, the First President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland, Professor Dr Małgorzata Gersdorf, published an open letter on the recent reforms of the judiciary. President Andrzej Duda has signed into law two bills reforming the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary: one allows politicians to choose members of the judiciary council, which appoints judges and the other, by lowering the retirement age for Supreme Court judges, would remove about 40 per cent of the current Court.

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Same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland again: Close

And here’s one I should have made much earlier…

In a brief judgment in Close & Ors, Re Judicial Review [2017] NIQB 79, delivered in August, O’Hara J dismissed a challenge to Article 6 of the Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 by two same-sex couples who had entered into civil partnerships in 2005. The applicants contended that the effect of the Convention, as incorporated into the law of the United Kingdom by the Human Rights Act 1998, was that the continued denial of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland was unlawful [7]. Continue reading

Lee v McArthur: the Gay Wedding Cake revisited

In a guest post, Dr Michael Arnheim, Barrister at Law and Sometime Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, offers another view of Lee v McArthur & Ors [2016] NICA 29 and the forthcoming appeal.


What is the point of yet another article on the “Gay Wedding Cake” saga? Just this, that, having lost in two courts already, the Christian bakery owners are about to receive a final knock-out blow in the UK Supreme Court – unless their lawyers take off their gloves and go for the jugular. Up to now, their lawyers have fought their corner in a quiet, gentlemanly way – on their adversaries’ terms. It is time to challenge the whole very shaky basis of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland.  Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 17th December

“There is a proper role for referendums in constitutional change, but only if done properly. If it is not done properly, it can be a dangerous tool”

David Davis, Hansard  2002

That vote on Amendment 7

Returning briefly to Brexit since our last foray in August, Wednesday’s vote is notable in that it is the Government’s first defeat on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. The impact of the amendment is that clause 9(1) now reads Continue reading