Law and religion round-up – 1st December

A complicated gentleman allow me to present,
Of all the arts and faculties the terse embodiment,
He’s a great arithmetician who can demonstrate with ease
That two and two are three or five or anything you please

W S Gilbert, Utopia Limited, 1893

… and readers may not be surprised to learn that the subject of the above description,  Sir Bayley Barre, was a QC and MP. On which note…

Human rights and the election

The Conservative manifesto:

“We will update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government. We will ensure that judicial review is available to protect the rights of the individuals against an overbearing state, while ensuring that it is not abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays.”

It should be noted that the 2015 Conservative manifesto included a commitment to repeal the Act in its entirety and replace it with a British Bill of Rights.

The Labour manifesto:

“Human rights and international humanitarian law are fundamental pillars of a secure global system. These principles are under threat … [we will] appoint human-rights advisers to work across the Foreign Office and government to prioritise a co-ordinated approach to human rights.”

Labour also issued a complementary Race and Faith manifesto. Interestingly, it includes a commitment to

“Improve coroners services to ensure they meet the needs of faith communities. For example with ‘out of hours’ services and where possible minimally invasive autopsies to ensure quick burials when required by faith communities.”

London Bridge attacker and “early release”

Whilst clearly beyond the remit of L&RUK, in the context of the political capital which is being made of the fatal stabbings on London Bridge on 29 November, the post by The Secret Barrister provides a highly detailed and well-referenced account of the legislation, court judgments and policy (i.e. political) decisions in the application of the many versions of Extended Sentences to the present case. The article is a classic demonstration of the complexities and uncertainties in the reporting and use of legal issues – and serves as a cautionary warning on believing the glib political statements of “dog-whistle” politics, the veracity of which is often highly questionable.

Certification of marriage

Among this week’s searches of the blog, the question “have wedding certificates changed yet?” suggests the need for an update, given the paucity of information elsewhere. The quick answer is “No”. For a more detailed explanation, in our 7 November post Civil partnerships, marriage registration, stillbirths – update we noted that the expected timing of this and other provisions under the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Act 2019 was less certain. In relation to the certification of marriage, Section 1(6) of the Act, The response to the Commons of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Victoria Atkins, that “the timescale will be announced in due course” alluded to the many unknowns before this is addressed.

The new Parliament will be summoned to meet on Tuesday 17 December, when the business will be the election of the Speaker and the swearing-in of members. Should this Prime Minister return, the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech, with “reduced ceremonial” – as was the case following the early general election in 2017 – will follow on Thursday 19 December. If there is a change of Government following the Election, it is anticipated that the Queen’s Speech would be in January on a more usual timetable; but this would be a matter for the incoming administration.

Nuns, retirement homes and laïcité

In last week’s round-up, we reported a story from The Guardian about a nun who had been offered a place in a retirement home in Vesoul, her home town, only on the condition that she ceased to wear her habit. The parish finally found her accommodation in a private retirement home.

Evidently, however, we and The Guardian weren’t entirely up to date. Agence France Presse reported on 19 November that the issue had been resolved, more or less. The Maire of Vesoul, Alain Chrétien, issued a press release in which he said that neither the rules of the retirement home nor the principles of laïcité stood in the way of her living there, and that “L’obligation de neutralité” did not apply to residents, who must enjoy freedom of conscience. He pledged “personally’ to find her a place if she so desired.

Quick links

And finally…

From The Conversation: music therapist Elizabeth Coombes suggests a playlist to calm the mind. Our first thought was Thomas Tomkins’ A Sad Pavan for these Distracted Times.

1 thought on “Law and religion round-up – 1st December

  1. Pingback: Church statement on marriage registration changes | Law & Religion UK

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