Law and religion round-up – 24th April

The week that saw the formulation of the Blackford Paradox

… and in which we learned that Pinocchio and other such expressions were not acceptable parliamentary language when describing the Prime Minister, except where the substance of the debate could not be explored without such propositions being made.

Referral of Prime Minister to Committee of Privileges

In the debate on the Referral of Prime Minister to Committee of Privileges on 21 April 2022, Chris Bryant (Rhondda, Lab) (who recused himself from chairing the Committee on the basis of his previous statements on the Prime Minister’s conduct) alluded to the fact that as a former Church of England priest, he was probably “the only person in the House who can actually pronounce absolution on anybody”. Unfortunately it is not quite that simple; if as has been reported, he has executed a Deed of Relinquishment, then as Philip Jones explains:

“Clergy do not exactly relinquish their orders under [the 1870 Act].  They relinquish ‘all rights, privileges, advantages and exemptions of the office [of priest or deacon]’ in the Church of England, as by law belong to that office (s.3(1), schedule 2). The 1662 Ordinal provides that deacons and priests are ordained ‘in the Church of God’, but the 1870 Act refers only to the Church of England, and to the law of England. Thus the clergyman only relinquishes the legal effects of his orders, not his orders per se.”

Charities Act 2022 implementation

DCMS has published an implementation plan for the Charities Act 2022. It expects the following sections to be brought into force in autumn 2022:

  • Section 4: Power to amend Royal Charters
  • Section 5: Orders under section 73 of the Charities Act 2011
  • Sections 6 and 7: Cy-près powers
  • Section 8: Power of the court and the Commission to make schemes
  • Sections 15 and 16: Ex gratia payments
  • Section 30: Remuneration of charity trustees etc providing goods or services to charity
  • Section 32: Trustee of charitable trust: status as trust corporation
  • Section 36: Costs incurred in relation to Tribunal proceedings etc
  • Part of Section 37: Public notice as regards Commission orders etc.
  • Part of Section 40 and Schedule 2: Minor and consequential amendments.

Sounds of the past

In Re All Saints Stranton [2022] ECC Dur 4, the Durham consistory court was faced with the decision of whether to retune 6th bell in addition to the other seven within the church’s ring of eight. The bell was believed to predate 1600 and was therefore on the CBC’s list of bells which should be preserved because of their historical importance, Conservation and Repair of Bells and Bellframes Code of Practice (1993).

The CBC was directed to respond to the PCC’s further submission [14], and its assertion that “the appeal for permission for tuning from the parish appears to have been made on the basis that the company who would tune the bell deemed it necessary and not the parishioners or bellringers” was rebutted by the “ample evidence” from the PCC, the bellringers, and the parish [25].

The retuning would involve the shaving of only a minimal amount of metal from the inner surface of the bell; nevertheless, if bell was not retuned, a significant improvement could still be achieved for the ring of eight, in in granting a faculty, the Chancellor determined that this was not the best outcome for this major project, with an estimated cost of £75k. Any harm caused by retuning this sixteenth century bell (which does not sound as it did when originally cast, and has not so sounded since 1907) is slight, and is outweighed by the benefits to the church and local community.

The National Archives and BAILII

On Tuesday, the National Archives launched its new judgments service for England and Wales, Find case law. The low-key launch was of an Alpha version and the website is still in development. BAILII’s website is currently much more comprehensive and Joshua Rozenberg reckons that BAILII will continue to be the first port of call for those who do not have access to a commercial provider.

So where next for BAILII? A statement on its website says that it has been happy to assist The National Archives in launching its new service, however, it “will continue to provide free access to a wide range of legal materials, including judgments from England and Wales as well as other jurisdictions – Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and European courts, and the Commonwealth.”

It has also posted “BAILII – the Next 10 Years”, in which it states that it “will continue to publish all our current range of materials, including those from England and Wales. No materials will be removed and all those linking to BAILII can be assured that links to documents will remain permanent”. Further, it remains committed to expanding its content, building on its role as a one-stop shop for materials from England & Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the CJEU and ECtHR.

For the medium term at least, we shall continue to hyperlink cases to BAILII as before – and in any event, there is no plan, so far as we are aware, for the new site to be expanded to include judgments from Scotland, Northern Ireland or the ECtHR. And having lost its funding from the MoJ, BAILII needs your support. [Full disclosure: Frank donates monthly to BAILII because he couldn’t contribute to this blog or do much academic writing without it. He aims to carry on doing so.]

Quick links

And finally…I

From The Times on 22 April: Confessions of a vicar: sex in the porch, thieves in the pews, with the subtitle “It’s not all cake and cups of tea. A Church of England priest reveals what joining his first parish was really like“. The article is anonymous.

And finally…II

For this year’s celebration of St George’s Day, St George’s Cathedral, Southwark@StGeorgesCath, explains: “Since 23 April this year falls within the Easter Octave, our celebrations of St George’s Day have been transferred to the Tuesday of the following week. We begin with Solemn First Vespers of the Feast of St George at 6pm on Monday 25 April”. 

Lord Gerrarrdus of Luton@Gerrarrdus paraphrases this as: “Where because of last Sunday you move this Saturday to next Tuesday. Then celebrate it on Monday night“.

We hope that’s clear.

4 thoughts on “Law and religion round-up – 24th April

  1. “[H]aving lost its funding from the MoJ, BAILII needs your support”. I too value BAILII’s website and make the occasional donation via Paypal. What I have just discovered by searching their website is that it is a charity:
    “If you are a UK taxpayer and would like to enhance the value of your donation via Gift Aid, we will be pleased to send you the relevant form….
    Charities Aid Foundation (CAF): please click to visit BAILII’s page on CAF. Donations can be made from an existing CAF account, or via credit/debit card or PayPal.”.
    I’d never know this before as it is ‘hidden’ on BAILLI’s inner pages. So in future I can add a little more courtesy of HMRC.
    I wonder how many donors know that BAILLI is a UK registered charity?

    • I did. But it would be helpful if BAILII made that clear on its front page – and it would be good practice for it to display its charity registration number as well.

      • Quite agree, Frank. But it begs the question, ‘Which is the front page?’
        Probably depends on which page you have book-marked on your browser: mine goes straight to the search page. Many websites, but BAILII is not one, have a common footer to all pages. Many sites have summary information about its company and charity registration in this common footer.
        May I suggest we each drop a note to BAILII thanking them for their excellent service and suggesting their charitable status is more prominent?

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