Worship, funerals and weddings under the Second English Lockdown

In a guest post, Professor Russell Sandberg looks at the legislation on worship, funerals and weddings under the Second English Lockdown

There has been considerable confusion about the rules that are applying during the second lockdown in England. Guidance was published at the beginning of the week and this was followed by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 which differed in some respects to the guidance. The guidance was then rewritten to correspond with and to clarify the Regulations.

Given this, and the cumbersome and convoluted nature of the Regulations, the following seeks to describe what the current position is and what questions remain.

On one level, the law is straightforward: private prayer is allowed but not communal worship; funerals of up to 30 people attending and a commemorative event of up to 15 people attending are allowed; and weddings of up to 6 people attending are permitted provided that it is a ‘death-bed’ wedding. However, as we will see, the Regulations express these rules in a rather convoluted manner which is likely to lead to confusion and which prompts some further questions. Continue reading