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Law & Religion UK is intended as a forum for what (we hope) is academically-rigorous exploration of the interactions between law and religion – broadly defined – together with the human rights issues associated with them. We are always interested in guest posts from colleagues in the field of law and religion.

We also welcome pertinent comments on current developments that reflect the views and opinions of their respective authors and meet the General Conditions applying to the site. However, those that do not meet those criteria or which are otherwise unidentifiable are unlikely to be published, especially comments that are abusive or defamatory. For more information see our comments policy below.

Frank Cranmer and David Pocklington

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 [amendment italicized]:

“A Minister of the Crown may by regulations make such provision as the Minister considers appropriate for the purposes of implementing the withdrawal agreement if the Minister considers that such provision should be in force on or before exit day, subject to the prior enactment of a statute by Parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

As constitutional lawyer Professor Mark Elliott notes:

“All that Parliament will be able to do is to (a) grant or withhold its assent to a withdrawal agreement and (b) if it assents, shape the legal machinery whereby the agreement will be given domestic effect. What Parliament will not be able to do is to amend the withdrawal agreement itself. The agreement will have been negotiated by the EU and the UK Government. Parliament will be presented with it on a take-it-or-leave-it basis”.

or as Laura Kuenssberg tweeted:

“But it’s one vote on one bill, Parliament was always going to be choppy for govt with no majority – Remainers hoping to soften Brexit shouldn’t bank on this suddenly changes everything”

The Commons Committee stage continues and the Bill will again be debated on 20 December.

Liberal Conservatives on human rights

Bright Blue, “an independent think tank and pressure group for liberal conservatism”, has published Individual Identity: understanding how conservatives think about human rights and discrimination. Continue reading

Law Commission Review: 13th Programme of Law Reform

On 14 December, the Law Commission announced that leasehold, trust law, smart contracts and chancel repair liability are among the 14 projects that the Law Commission will look at over the next three years. A number of these projects are associated with “law and religion” and related issues, including: Continue reading

Re-launched CofE website: legal opinions & ors

More links to issues of legal interest

Following the re-launch of the Church of England web site on 15th November, we have posted some “quick links” to pages we considered might be of possible interest to L&RUK readers; further links were obtained from by the Church’s twitter page in which answers were provided to specific queries concerning the revised web site, see below. The former focussed on policy and law, whereas the primarily concern issues which are of relevance to the clergy and members of General Synod.

The Legal Services section of the website now includes Legal Opinions from the General Synod’s Legal Advisory Commission, as well as other formal guidance relating to legislation; those relating to clergy discipline were summarized in our earlier post. Continue reading

HM Chief Inspector on illegal religious schools

Ofsted has published its Annual Report – the first for Amanda Spielman as HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Of particular interest to this blog are the Report’s comments about conservative religious schools where the legal requirements for shared values and tolerance clash with community expectations, and the creation of illegal ‘schools’ that avoid teaching the unifying messages taught in the vast majority of schools in England. The relevant section of the Report is worth reproducing in full:

Continue reading

AMiE ordinations – update

A summary of the initial reactions to AMiE ordinations on 7th December

An earlier post summarized the background to the first ordination service of the Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) on Thursday 7th December 2017 at the East London Tabernacle Church. These were led by Missionary Bishop Andy Lines and was live-streamed on the AMiE website;  “footage from the event itself” is available here. Continue reading