Law & Religion 2014 and 2015: retrospect and prospect – Part I

It’s that time of year again, when folks wonder where the last twelve months have gone and make New Year resolutions which will last for at least a week – and bloggers write reviews of the past year. So here’s Part One of ours…


Scotland said, “No, but…”

Much the biggest domestic news of the year was that the Scottish independence referendum on 18 September returned a “No” vote by a margin of 55% to 45%. In its aftermath, the unionist parties looked hard at further devolution to the Scottish Government and Parliament, while the SNP added almost 60,000 new members in the wake of the result. Alex Salmond resigned as leader of the SNP and First Minister and was replaced by his depute, Nicola Sturgeon, while the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Johann Lamont, also resigned, complaining that Labour at Westminster treated Scotland like a branch office, and was replaced by former Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy.

On 19 September, the Prime Minister announced that Lord Smith of Kelvin would chair a Commission on further devolution and its proposals were published in late November. The intention is to publish legislation by Burns Night 2015, 25 January (which falls on a Sunday).

The CJEU and the ECHR: where next?

The Court of Justice of the European Union threw a very large spanner into the ongoing works of EU accession to the ECHR when it issued a full-court opinion on the draft accession agreement declaring it incompatible with the European Treaties. There have already been several analyses of the decision: for helpful summaries see Michèle Finck on the International Journal of Constitutional Law  blog and David Hart on UKHRB.

Issues of religion or religious belief: Shergill v Khaira

In June the Supreme Court was faced with the knotty problem of the extent to which the courts may legitimately involve themselves in matters of religion and belief. In Shergill & Ors v Khaira & Ors [2014] UKSC 33. Continue reading