… said a commentator on a recent post, then went on to draw my attention to something I hadn’t even considered exploring because it didn’t seem to be particularly relevant to the issue I was discussing. So perhaps it’s time to attempt to explain what we think our brand of legal blogging is about.
First, we aim to get it as right as we possibly can – and we nearly always include links to primary sources so readers can come to their own conclusions. We freely admit that we sometimes make mistakes (who doesn’t?) and, when we do, we very much hope that someone who knows more than we do will correct us. We only very rarely refuse to publish a comment: we have no interest whatsoever in perpetuating inaccuracies and our backs are pretty broad.
Secondly, we sometimes revise or add to posts because we have simply changed our views over time – though we generally indicate within the post when changes have been made. An example of that was Lee v Ashers Baking Co Ltd & Anor  NICty 2: even though we still believe that the decision was the correct one, we are much less certain now than when we first read the judgment that the reasoning that led to it was correct – and we await with interest the forthcoming decision of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal.
Thirdly, there is a trade-off to be made between immediacy and depth of analysis. Part of the purpose of the blog, as we see it, is current awareness: to inform those who drop by of the latest developments in law and religion, broadly defined. But the two are slightly uneasy bedfellows: if we are trying to report and comment on issues as they arise, there is rarely time for the kind of detailed analysis that goes into even a short academic journal article.
Fourthly, this is a blog, not a peer-reviewed academic journal – nor even a peer-reviewed academic website. As we’ve said before, some of the stuff – particularly case-notes – gets digested and recycled into hard-copy publication, but most of it is ephemera. So please don’t expect the carefully-weighed, endlessly-worried-over kind of stuff that we’d hope to publish in the Ecclesiastical Law Journal or Law & Justice. We do that as well – but we don’t usually do it here. In any case, very few people would read a 5,000-word blog post.
Fifthly, as our blogroll indicates, there is quite a lot of general comment on various sites about law and religion in the United Kingdom and we often provide links to it; but there is currently only one blog that deals regularly and pretty well exclusively with the topic – and, for better or worse, this is it. If anyone out there would like to start another blog covering the same area (or would like to assist in writing L&RUK) we would welcome them with open arms, not least because it would reduce our workload considerably. As we’ve said before, we were very sad when Neil Addison decided to stop writing his Religion Law Blog: we sometimes disagreed with what Neil had written but it was always thought-provoking stuff – and disagreement is part of healthy debate.
Finally, if we do happen to write something that’s total drivel, no-one is under any obligation whatsoever to read it – but do please let us know what’s wrong and we’ll try to put it right.
Thanks again for all you do on your helpful and stimulating blog.
Bravo, carry on blogging.
Bishop Colin Buchanan’s slogan for his astonishing output of Grove booklets, from pre-blogging days, was ‘Not the last word, but often the first’, and this could well apply to the equally astonishing output of Law & Religion, which despite your modest disclaimers offers material that is detailed, accurate (though always amenable to revision), and up-to-the-minute. So bravo indeed. Can readers suggest some appropriate double entendres for the classic throwback film ‘Carry On Blogging’?
Keep up the good work! Always interesting and helpful.