Recent queries and comments – 9th December

A further compilation of “Quick Answers” and links

This is the twelfth post in which we have sought to provide “quick answers” to comments and queries that had been raised through the search function on L&RUK. Since its first appearance in our weekly round-up on 13th August this year, there has been a total of 160 responses to questions we considered to be within our remit (and to some which have not).

For issues which arise on a fairly regular basis, we have provided links to sources of frequently sought data, in addition to a selection of relevant pages on the CofE new website. The minutiae of the 1983 Code of Canons are not our specialist subject, and the blogs of Fr Z and Cathy Caridi have provided some Q&A of interest in this area. Dr Ed Peters’ blog In the Light of the Law gives more a detailed consideration of current issues, though not in a Q&A format.

General searches 

Question Quick Answer L&RUK Answer
can i photocopy copyrighted music for a church service? No. Not without permission or appropriate licence Copyright and religion: an idiot’s guide, (131031).
parents legal right to withdraw from religious education Religious education, collective worship and the right of withdrawal, (120617).
bishop philip north thought for the day Not one for us See BBC Radio 4; The 3-minute T4T available until 24 December 2017
why is it difficult to recruit vicars Recruitment is only one aspect of the number of clergy in the church. See CofE’s Pathways Programme for some of issues involved. Also CofE clergy over 70 – changes to terms of service, (170919).
how are Anglican bishops elected Diocesan – Bishops: from announcement to installation, (160420) Suffragan – Suffragan bishops: from selection to ordination & consecration, (160427).
 direct cremation uk “Public health funerals” and “direct cremation”, (160729).  Also, The Good Funeral Guide’s Factsheet, Direct cremation and direct burial.
when does the law require a baby to be named? uk All births in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be registered within 42 days of the child being born, 21 days in Scotland.  More information here and here.
legality of using a church of england for a concert Of concerts and performances in churches and cathedrals, (121016).

Case law related searches

Question Quick Answer L&RUK Answer
southgate cemetery New Southgate Cemetery Bill – Update, (170625). See also: Municipal cemetery development and the faculty jurisdiction, (170307). 
Hämäläinen v Finland § Hämäläinen v Finland [2014] ECHR 787 Transsexuals and marriage: Hämäläinen v Finland, (140717).
R (o.a.o. hodkin) v registrar general of births R (Hodkin & Anor) v Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages [2013] UKSC Scientology, religion and charity law: an analysis of R (Hodkin), (131217).
christian insitute v lord advocate 2016 Christian Institute & Ors v The Lord Advocate (Scotland) [2016] UKSC 51 Supreme Court strikes down Scottish ‘named persons’ provisions: Christian Institute v Lord Advocate, (160728)
is paganism a recognized religion in the uk Paganism, religion and human rights, (141020).
duffield questions Assessing “modest harm” in secular and ecclesiastical courts, (151209).
exhumation of serbian queen HM Queen Maria of Yugoslavia:  Re The Royal Burial GroundFrogmore [2013] Oxford CCt Royal exhumation, reburial and s25 Burial Act 1857, (130610).

Q&A on other areas of ecclesiastical law

Fr Z: ASK FATHER – Summaries of Fr Z’s more detailed responses are given below

Canon Law Made Easy, Cathy Caridi

Links to sources of frequently sought data

These and other quick links were included in our posts which focussed on policy and law, and those of interest to clergy and General Synod members.

Unless marked §, the questions are the search terms used, verbatim;  questions arising externally to the blog, (twitter/other), are marked ‡; the dates in parentheses are in the format (yymmdd).

As stated in our General Terms and Conditions, at L&RUK we do not give legal advice, or purport to do so. This post is a summary of recent enquiries and comments, and links to relevant coverage in this blog and elsewhere. With regard to on-going issues, the date of this sourced material is of particular importance. For specific queries on the application of the legislation, professional legal advice should be sought.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Recent queries and comments – 9th December" in Law & Religion UK, 9 December 2017,

3 thoughts on “Recent queries and comments – 9th December

  1. Hello. My local Parish church held a barn dance last night within the church. There was a licensed bar and two-course meal. Part of the chancel, right up to the altar rail was used for serving food/drink. I am wondering, is this an activity consistent with a consecrated building? Many other people in our parish are upset about this usage. It would be interesting to know if this is a permissible use. I would appreciate your thoughts or direction towards a suitable authority on this subject. Kind regards, Simon

    • Thanks you for your interesting query. Quite timely, in that our annual Choir Dinner is due to be held in church next week, beneath the tower but to the west of the altar rail, in an area specifically designed on re-ordering to permit social rather than secular events. An increasing number of consistory court decisions consider the reordering of the interior of churches to provide “flexibility” in worship and social events.

      Aside from the interior architecture of the building, the permissibility of such church use is initially dependent upon local considerations – the approval of the incumbent and churchwarden, both of whom have duties specific to this area. With regard to an “official utterance” on such use, the General Synod’s Legal Advisory Commission has produced an Opinion on wedding receptions on church premises – which includes churches as well as church halls. The issues considered appear to be quite similar to those you raise. Although the document is dated 2011, its has been reinstated onto the recently-revised web site.

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