Law and religion round-up – 23rd April

A week dominated by…

…the General Election, June 2017

On 18 April we published a short post on the announcement by the Prime Minister of her intention to move a motion for an early election in the House of Commons on the following day, under the provisions of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. The House of Commons Library immediately published a helpful short guide to the election, and for anoraks, it answers the question: Will the Manchester Gorton by-election go ahead? vide infra. The House of Commons Library has also produced a briefing on the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

On 12:57 pm on 19 April, the Prime Minister moved “That there shall be an early parliamentary general election”. [HC Hansard, 19 April Vol 624 Col 681]. After a 90-minute debate, the House divided: Ayes: 522; Noes: 13.  Continue reading

Should yoga instructors have formal qualifications?

There are currently no official qualifications required to become a yoga instructor in the UK and there is a debate about whether or not regulation is needed to protect the public from incompetent teachers. The sector skills council for active leisure, learning and wellbeing, SkillsActive, is consulting over the next twelve months about creating a national occupational standard (NOS) to set a sector-wide minimum for yoga teaching in the UK. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 6th December

The round-up gets longer and longer: some interesting case-law, developments in both parts of Ireland, organ donation in Wales, the Lord’s Prayer again – and a sad end to yet another clerical reputation…

Just how far does anti-discrimination reach? 

Can a corporate body which is a member of an LLP claim to have suffered detriment because of the protected characteristic of an individual who happened to be its principal shareholder and member? An Employment Tribunal said “yes”; and Langstaff J upheld that ruling, dismissing the argument that because only an individual can have a protected characteristic, a corporate body cannot raise a discrimination claim under the Equality Act 2010.

In EAD Solicitors LLP & Ors v Abrams (Age Discrimination) [2015] UKEAT 0054 15 0506 the issue, in essence, was whether or not a corporate body could bring a claim for direct discrimination in respect of detrimental treatment that it claimed to have suffered because of the protected characteristic of someone with whom it was associated. In this particular case the protected characteristic was age; but Langstaff J stated that the issue was a general proposition that did not turn on the particular facts of the case. Continue reading

Religion and law round-up – 4th October

Scottish charities, caste, mental capacity, incense not a “legal high”, a new initiative on freedom of religion & belief – and the pitfalls of machine translation

Consultation on guidance for Scottish charity trustees

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (the OSCR, better-known as “Oscar”) has announced a full revision of its Guidance for Charity Trustees, which has been updated in light of OSCR’s experience of regulating the sector over the past nine years. Key features of the updated guidance include a less formal tone, illustrative examples and web-based sections that allow users to navigate between areas of particular interest to their own organisations. The Guidance was last updated in September 2010: since then, OSCR has conducted over 2,000 inquiries into charity governance and produced Who’s in Charge, a guidance document summarising issues of independence and control in charities. The updated guidance has also been informed by OSCR’s high-profile governance reviews.

The consultation runs from 28 September to 18 December. Its relevance to religious organisations in Scotland (and, for that matter, to denominations like the Methodists, the Quakers, the URC and the Salvation Army that operate across Great Britain or the entire UK) should hardly need mentioning – but it’s surprising how easy it is to miss these things.

Caste discrimination – or maybe not

We noted the judgment in Tirkey v Chandhok & Anor [2015] ET 3400174/2013 (or maybe “Chandok: there seems to be some disagreement over the spelling) on the substance of Ms Tirkey’s case against her employers. We concluded that, though she won on several grounds, the issue as to whether or not discrimination on grounds of caste contravened the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 was not really addressed. Continue reading

Sikhs to be allowed to wear turbans in the workplace

Under the previous law, Sikhs wearing turbans have not been required to wear motorcycle helmets and Sikhs working in the construction industry have been exempted from rules requiring cranial protection: see s 16(2) Road Traffic Act 1988 and ss 11 & 12 Employment Act 1989. For school pupils there is Mandla v Dowell Lee [1982] UKHL 7 – and the Horses (Protective Headgear for Young Riders) Regulations 1992 exempt a Sikh child under 14 years old from the requirement under the Horses (Protective Headgear for Young Riders) Act 1990 to wear a protective helmet when riding a horse on the road if he is wearing a turban. However, Sikhs working in less dangerous industries such as in factories and warehouses have not until now been exempt – which means that Sikhs in many jobs who chose to wear a turban rather than the required head protection risked disciplinary action or dismissal.

The Government has announced that turban-wearing Sikhs now have the right to choose not to wear head protection and will be exempt from legal requirements to wear a safety helmet in the majority of workplaces. Continue reading