Law and religion round-up – 31st March

Another week dominated by Brexit, which ended even more confusingly than it began…

… but for those contemplating the possibility of a “snap general election”, we would point out that this was covered this in our 2016 post following the judgment in R (Miller & Anor) v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin).

Hate-crime in Scotland

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has questioned the use of specific aggravations in the prosecution of hate crimes. Though it accepts that there are practical benefits in using statutory aggravations to record specific types of offending behaviour and to monitor trends, in a submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on hate crimes, it has raised concerns about the risk of creating a “hierarchy of protected characteristics”. In an endorsement of the right to freedom of expression, it warns that in a climate of heightened sensitivity, the definition of “hate” has become contentious and open to misuse:

“care must be taken to allow room for debate and a robust exchange of views, ensuring that ‘hate’ doesn’t include the kind of ordinary discourse where people reasonably hold divergent views. The fundamental right to freedom of expression, and the right of an individual to hold and express opinions, even if they are considered by some to be controversial or unwelcome must be upheld.” Continue reading