Forthcoming events in religion and law – Update: June 2013

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

Events calendar

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.

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.


The Queen’s Speech on 8th May 2013 marked the start of the 2013-2014 Session of the UK Parliament, which since following Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, parliamentary sessions have run from spring to spring, Hansard HC 13 Sep 2010, col. 33WS.  Our post on 7 May lists the Bills which: failed to progress before the end of the 2012-13 Session; and those which received Royal Assent.  Those carried over to the 2013-14 Session are listed below, to which will be added those identified in the Queen’s Speech as they are introduced as well as Private Members Bills and those arising from the 10 Minute Rule, (SO No 23).

The current list of Bills before Parliament is here, and the Draft Bills announced in the Queen’s Speech are here, except for the Draft European Union (Referendum) Bill which wasn’t, and is only available on the Conservative Party web site.  This may (or may not) form the basis of the Private Members’ Bill of James Wharton, who came top in the ballot on 16 May.

Bills before Westminster Parliament

Bills carried over from 2012-13 Session

  • Children and Families Bill A Bill which seeks to reform legislation relating to inter alia: adoption and children in care; and aspects of the family justice system.  The Bill was the subject of a carry-over motion on 25 February 2013, which was agreed without division.4
  • Energy Bill: A Bill “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. Subject of a carry-over motion on 19 December 2012, agreed without division.
  • Financial Services (Banking Reform) Bill:  To make further provision about banking and other financial services, including provision about the Financial Services Compensation Scheme; to make provision for the amounts owed in respect of certain deposits to be treated as a preferential debt on insolvency; to make provision about the accounts of the Bank of England and its wholly owned subsidiaries; and for connected purposes. The Bill completed its committee stage on 18 April, and is subject of a carry-over motion on 11 March 2013, which was carried without division.

A particular concern of the Archbishop of Canterbury who is a member of all-party commission looking into banking standards.

  • Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill: A Bill “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”. The Bill has completed its Commons stages and is awaiting second reading in the Lords.

Government Bills

  • Care Bill: A Bill to reform the law relating to care and support for adults and the law relating to support for carers, to make provision about safeguarding adults from abuse or neglect, to make provision about care standards, to establish and make provision about Health Education England, to establish and make provision about the Health Research Authority, and for connected purposes; Sponsor, Earl Howe; First reading, 9 May; Second Reading, 15 May.

Private Members’ Bills

  • Assisted Dying Bill: Bill to enable competent adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with specified assistance to end their own life; and for connected purposes. Private Member’s Bill (Starting in the House of Lords), Sponsor: Lord Falconer of Thoroton.  First reading, 15 May 2013.
  • Equality (Titles) Bill: Bill to make provision for the succession of female heirs to hereditary titles; for husbands and civil partners of those receiving honours to be allowed to use equivalent honorary titles to those available to wives; and for connected purposes. Private Member’s Bill (Starting in the House of Lords), Sponsor: Lord Lucas. First reading, 9 May 2013.
  • European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Bill to Repeal the European Communities Act 1972; and to make provision for the Secretary of State to repeal any enactment that has been a consequence of the European Communities Act 1972. Private Member’s Bill (Starting in the House of Lords), Sponsor: Lord Pearson of Rannoch. First reading, 15 May 2013.
  • Extension of Franchise (House of Lords) Bill: Bill to make provision for a Member of the House of Lords to vote at elections to the House of Commons. Private Member’s Bill (Starting in the House of Lords) Sponsor: Lord Dubs. First reading, 9 May 2013.
  • House of Lords Reform Bill: Bill Make provision for permanent leave of absence from the House of Lords; to provide for the expulsion of members of the House of Lords in specified circumstances; to make provision for the appointment of a Commission to make recommendations to the Crown for the creation of life peerages; and to restrict membership of the House of Lords by virtue of hereditary peerages. Private Member’s Bill (Starting in the House of Lords) Sponsor: Baroness Hayman. First reading, 15 May 2013.
  • Marriage (Approved Organisations) Bill: Bill to amend the law on marriage to permit the Registrar General to permit certain charitable organisations to solemnise marriages. Private Member’s Bill (Starting in the House of Lords) Sponsor: Lord Harrison.  First reading, 16 May 2013.
  • Rights of the Sovereign and the Duchy of Cornwall Bill: Bill to amend the Sovereign Grant Act 2011; to amend the succession to the title of the Duke of Cornwall; to redistribute the Duchy of Cornwall estate; and to remove the requirement for a Parliament to obtain the Queen’s or Prince’s consent to consideration of Bills passing through Parliament. Private Member’s Bill (Starting in the House of Lords) Sponsor: Lord Berkeley.

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. As at 1 June there were no obviously-relevant consultations.

Scottish Government

The Consultation on Same-sex Marriage closed on 20 March and the Scottish Government will publish an analysis of responses later this year: further information is available at Otherwise, as at 1 June there were no obviously-relevant consultations apart, perhaps, from the Consultation on Licensing of Metal Dealers. A full list of current consultations is available here.

Welsh Assembly Government

A full list of WAG consultations is available here. As at 1 June there were no obviously-relevant consultations.


Legal proceedings

Supreme Court

The judgment in President of the Methodist Conference v Preston [2011] EWCA Civ 1581 (20 December 2011) was handed down at 9.45 on Wednesday, 15 May.  By four votes to one (Lord Hope DPSC, Lords Wilson, Sumption and Carnwath JJSC: Lady Hale JSC dissenting) the Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal and restored the original order of the Employment Tribunal dismissing Ms Preston’s claim.  Our report is here.

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

In Doogan & Anor v NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board [2013] ScotCS CSIH 36 (24 April 2013) an Extra Division of the Inner House (Mackay of Drumadoon, Dorrian & McEwan) overturned the decision of the Lord Ordinary [Lady Smith] dismissing their petition for judicial review and refusing the petitioners’ minute. Our report is here. There is no news as yet as to whether or not the Health Board proposes to appeal.

European Court of Human Rights

The appeals panel has handed down its decisions on the applications for leave to appeal to the Grand Chamber in Chaplin, Ladele and McFarlane.

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 trades 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.

The complaint in S.A.S. v France (No. 43835/11) about the legality of the French ban on the wearing of the burqa and niqab in public places is to be heard by the Grand Chamber (t,b,a,), the Chamber to which it was assigned having relinquished jurisdiction.


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.
  • Final report from the group  chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling on the Church of England’s approach to human  sexuality, here.


Other Events

UK Scouting and Girlguiding UK are reviewing the responses to their respective consultations concerning to their membership promises.  The consultations closed earlier this year.

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