Law and religion round-up – 18th September

BBC: screening Her Majesty’s funeral

It appears that the BBC has had several queries about the copyright implications of screening its television programmes for a wider audience because it has updated its online guide to the rules. In short:

“As long as you are a UK resident and stick to the rules explained on this page, you can screen the BBC live ceremonial events coverage. This can be on a TV, screen, or using a projection system, in a school or church hall, for example. By screening the coverage you agree to the BBC rules.”

If you are not a UK resident, however, you will have to ask BBC Studios for an overseas licence: e-mail outofhome.sales@bbc.com.

In relation to the funeral service itself:

“You don’t need a TV licence to watch the coverage of the funeral and other live ceremonial events during the national period of mourning up to and including Wednesday 21 September 2022. The BBC recognises the constitutional nature of these events and has decided to offer a dispensation of the TV licence to watch them.

This dispensation also allows communities organising events in premises such as town halls, community centres and streets across Britain, where TV is not usually watched, to screen the ceremonial events live. This also applies to shops, for example.”

The guide also states:

“A PRS licence is needed to play live or recorded music in public. For more information please check the PRSforMusic website”.

On 14 September, the BBC announced that it was launching a dedicated stream of the Queen lying in state, for people who want to pay their respects virtually. It will be available on the BBC home page, the BBC News website and app, the iPlayer, BBC Parliament and Red Button. The stream was available from 17:00 BST on Wednesday.

Queries and Comments

In a week where many have taken to social media to air their particular agendas, some of which, such as the Tweets/headlines concerning the nomination by Counsellors of State,  do not stand close scrutiny, we have restricted our posts and comments to “religion and law” and the associated official utterances. However, where we have drawn a blank is on the position of the Monarch’s Chaplains and whether these appointments expired on her death, in the manner of Royal Warrants. 

In response to concerns that had been expressed on matters concerning the demise of the Crown, this week we posted Oaths of allegiance: Church of England and Events on day of the State Funeral. Both reviewed material that was already in the public domain, and both gave a negative response to the questions: must clergy retake their oaths of allegiance? and are funerals, weddings &c banned on Monday 19 September 2022?

Bill of Rights Bill

We have previously reported that the new Government appears to have scrapped the Bill of Rights Bill.

Kirsten Oswald (SNP, East Renfrewshire) asked the Secretary of State for Justice, “with reference to the Answers of 15 February 2022 to Questions 119629 and 119630, what recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Administration on the potential impact of clauses 3(2) and 3(3)(a) of the Bill of Rights Bill on the legal recognition of humanist marriages in Northern Ireland”. To which Sarah Dines, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the MoJ and the Home Office, replied on 13 September:

“As is the case whenever a new government is formed, we are now looking again at the Bill of Rights [sic] to ensure that it meets the government’s objectives.”

Slightly strange that a question on humanist marriages in Northern Ireland should have prompted such a reply, but does it mean that the Bill has, in fact, been scrapped or that the MoJ is thinking of bringing forward amendments to it?

Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011: All Saints Spring Park PCC

Under the terms of s 12(1) of the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011:

“Any person who has duly made written representations with respect to the draft scheme may appeal to Her Majesty in Council against the scheme or any provisions thereof, but only with the leave of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.”

In what must be a very rare occurrence, the Judicial Committee has granted permission to appeal the decision in All Saints Spring Park Parochial Church Council relating to the draft pastoral scheme to dissolve the parish, on grounds (1) of indirect discrimination, (2) of the public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and (3) of the relevance of race inequality to the scheme’s purpose. Permission to appeal was refused on Ground 4 (mismanagement).

Religion and Article 10 again: Rabczewska

In Rabczewska v Poland [2022] ECHR 680, the claimant (described by the Court as “a popular pop singer known as Doda”) had told an interviewer that she was not convinced by what she described as “the writings of someone wasted from drinking wine and smoking some weed” and when asked who she meant, she had replied, “all those guys who wrote those incredible [biblical] stories” [6]. As a result, she had been convicted of an offence and fined 5,000 Polish złotys (about 1,160 euros).

The ECtHR held by six votes to one that her conviction violated Article 10 of the Convention. All being well, we hope to post a full note on the judgment later in the week.

Quick links

And finally…

The Lord Great Chamberlain (not to be confused with the Lord Chamberlain) plays an important role following the demise of the Crown, including access to Westminster Hall and the Queen’s lying-in-state. The office is hereditary and alternates by reign between the heirs of certain families according to a highly complex formula. Formerly held by the Marquess of Cholmondeley, it has now passed down the Carington line to Rupert Carington, 7th Baron Carrington, for the reign of King Charles III. [Frank notes: Apparently, Peter Carrington, when asked whether it was one “r” or two in his surname, would sometimes reply “it’s S-m-i-t-h”: see Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington – Wikipedia ]

For those with the time and patience, details of this “clumsy arrangement” are given in FOI  Request 3165. There is also a tenuous link with “law and religion” through Re Holy Trinity Bledlow [2020] ECC Oxf 4, in which Hodge Ch granted permission for the 7th Baron Carrington to introduce into the church two heraldic Garter banners which had belonged to his late father, the 6th Baron Carrington. These had hung in St George’s Windsor, but on his death had been returned to the family

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