Forthcoming events in religion and law – Update: March 2013

Below is an updated version of some of the more important dates and events scheduled for 2013, last updated here.

Events calendar

4 March: First General Congregations of the College of Cardinals in preparation for Conclave.

4 March: Meeting of Working Group on Women in the Episcopate: Consideration of submissions on Consultation Paper,GS MISC 1042.

12 March: Commencement of conclave for election of new pope, full timetable of events here.

12 March: Adjournment debate, Westminster Hall, 11am – 11.30am: Licensing of the reburial of King Richard III, Hugh Bayley MP

12 March: Chapter of Leicester cathedral to agree architects’ brief on the final resting place for the remains of Richard III.

13 March: Ecclesiastical Law Society London Lecture, “The Faculty Jurisdiction and Questions of Theology”, Rupert Bursell QC, Chancellor Oxford diocese

21 March: Enthronement of Justin Welby at Canterbury Cathedral as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

19–21 April: Ecclesiastical Law Society Biennial Residential Conference in Birmingham, Shaping the future of Parochial Ministryy.

9 May: Richard O’Sullivan Memorial Lecture, “Does Establishment Have A Future?”, Rt hon. Lord Mackay of Clashfern KT, Lord of Appeal in Ordinary 1985–1987, Lord Chancellor 1987–1997: The Parliament Room, Middle Temple 7.15 pm: places are limited: for further details see

13 May: University of Wales, Newport: Funded Workshop: Maintaining a Faith Community: the Role of Law: details Dr Ruth Gaffney-Rhys,

14 May: Law and Religion Scholars Network, (LARSN) Conference, Cardiff.

20-21 May: Meeting of House of Bishops to take decisions on what legislative proposals to bring to the Synod in July.

4 June: Service in Westminster Abbey to celebrate 60th Anniversary of the Coronation Service.

7 June: Coronation Lecture by the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, 6.30 pm.

12 June: Ecclesiastical Law Society London Lecture, “Churchwardens: a case of mistaken identity?”, Dr Peter Smith.

17-18 June: 39th G8 summit at Enniskillen, Inter-faith engagement, UK G8 Religious Leaders Initiative

5–9 July: Meeting of Church of England General Synod in York

18 July: LLM (Canon Law) graduation, Cardiff University

16 October: Ecclesiastical Law Society London Lecture, “Anglican Covenant or What?”, The Revd Canon John Rees, Provincial Registrar, Canterbury

18–20 November: Meeting of Church of England General Synod, London


Parliamentary timetables

Note: On 16 January 2013, MEPs voted on a new European Parliament calendar, with 12 plenary part-sessions of equal duration in Strasbourg in 2013, as ruled by the Court of Justice in joined Cases C 237/11 and C 238/11. The Court found in favour of France and Luxembourg and annulled Parliament’s vote of 9 March 2011 on the calendar of part-sessions for 2012 and 2013, holding that the 12 “ordinary plenary part-sessions” of the EP travelling circus must be of equal duration and reiterated that only the member states have the legal power to change the seat of the institutions.


Bills before Westminster Parliament 2012–13

  • Energy Bill: The 15th and 16th sittings of the Second reading were on 7th February.  The date for the Report stage and Third Reading (HC) are to be announced.  The Bill is “to make provision for or in connection with reforming the electricity market for purposes of encouraging low-carbon electricity generation or ensuring security of supply” – this is a current lobbying      concern of the Church of England in relation to fuel poverty.
  • Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill: second reading 1 March 2013: private Member’s bill (Frank Field) “to amend the Equality Act 2010 to remove discrimination against women in relation to consecration of bishops in the Church of England; and for connected purposes”.
  • Equality of Marriage (Amendment) Bill: second reading 1 March: Introduced under the 10 minute rule,  (Edward Leigh), “to amend the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 to include a person’s conscientious beliefs about the definition of marriage”
  • Lords Spiritual Bill: second reading 1 March: private  Member’s bill (Frank Field) “to make provision for filling vacancies among      Lords Spiritual sitting and voting as Lords of Parliament”.
  • Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill: Committee debate 1st Sitting, HC, 12 February      Committee Stage, 27 February & seq. : “to make provision for the marriage of same-sex couples in England and Wales, about gender change      by married persons and civil partners, about consular functions in  relation to marriage, for the marriage of armed forces personnel  overseas”.
  • Marriage  (Approved Organisations) Bill [Lords]: no further progress, second  reading date t.b.a: private Peer’s bill “to amend the law on marriage to permit the Registrar General to permit certain charitable organisations to solemnise marriages” which is unlikely to make progress.
  • Scrap Metal Dealers Act Royal Assent, 28 February:: “to amend the law relating to scrap metal dealers; and for connected purposes”.
  • Succession to the Crown Bill: Committee Stage, 28 February; Report Stage, 13 March; 3rd Reading, 20 March. : “to make succession to the Crown not depend on gender; to make provision about  Royal Marriages; and for connected purposes”

To follow the progress of a particular Bill, the relevant Parliamentary web page provides the option to sign up for email alerts or use its RSS feeds.

Bills before the Welsh Assembly Government 2012–13



UK Government

A full list of UK government consultations is available here. At 31 January, there were no relevant consultations.

Scottish Government

Consultation on Same-sex Marriage, closes 20 March.

Welsh Assembly Government

A full list of WAG consultations is available here. At 29 January there were no relevant consultations.


Legal proceedings

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will hear the appeal from President of the Methodist Conference v Preston [2011] EWCA Civ 1581 (20 December 2011) on 13 February.

First-tier Tribunal (Charity)

The FTT(C) was due to hear linked appeals – CA/2012/0003 in the name of Besley & Ors and CA/2012/0003(b) in the name of Armstrong & Ors – on 22–28 March against the decision of the Charity Commission to refuse charity registration to the Preston Down Trust of the Exclusive Brethren. The proceedings have now been stayed by agreement with the Charity Commission pending further negotiations between the parties.

Court of Session: Inner House

The Inner House’s hearing in the appeal from Doogan & Anor, Re Judicial Review [2012] ScotCS CSOH 32 (about the limits within which medical staff may claim conscientious objection to participating in arrangements for terminations of pregnancy) has been concluded and judgment on the matter is currently awaited.

European Court of Human Rights

The Grand Chamber has heard the appeal in Fernández Martínez v Spain [2012] ECHR 6030/07 (15 May 2012) on whether the decision not to renew the contract of a laicised and married former Roman Catholic priest as a teacher of religion in a state school had violated his rights under Article 8 ECHR (private and family life): judgment is awaited.

The Grand Chamber will hear an appeal (t.b.a.) in the Romanian clerical trade union case, Sindicatul Păstorul Cel Bun v Romania 2330/09 [2012] ECHR (31 January 2012).

There will be a Chamber hearing (t.b.a.) in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v United Kingdom 7552/09 [2011] ECHR 733 (12 April 2011), relating to the refusal of the local Valuation Officer to exempt the LDS Temple in Preston and some of its associated buildings from business rates under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 on the grounds that the buildings in question are not open to the public.


Church of England

Legislation in progress within the Church of England

The CofE link to legislation in progress is here.

Ecclesiastical Committee

The CofE link to the Ecclesiastical Committee is here.

Peter Owen maintains lists of vacant diocesan Sees and of suffragan bishops, here and here

Other C of E

In addition to consideration of new legislation on women in the episcopate, action on the following is also in progress:

  • Business Committee position  paper on how the House of Laity of General Synod and the houses of laity of diocesan synods are elected, motion agreed at General Synod 8 – 12 July      2011, here.
  • Draft legislation from Archbishops’ Council “to embody this conviction [the manifestation of  faith in public life] in the Canons of the Church of England”, Agreed      Motion of General Synod, 8 July 2012.
  • Draft document on doctrine of marriage, prepared for the House of Bishops by the Faith and Order  Commission in relation to the doctrine of marriage, here.
  • Final report from the group chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling on the Church of England’s approach to human sexuality, here.


Other Events

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill: The Public Bill Committee has invited those with relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the proposed legislation to submit their views by e-mail to before Tuesday 12 March 2013.

Girlguiding UK Consultation The Church of England is encouraging its members to response to this consultation which ends on 3 March. It also suggested that responses should be made to the UK Scouting consultation which ended on 31 January.

One thought on “Forthcoming events in religion and law – Update: March 2013

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