Law and religion round-up – 25th September

“Those who serve will be loved and remembered longer than those who cling to power and privilege are long forgotten”

Justin Welby

Northern Ireland religion statistics

The BBC reports that the 2021 Census figures show that for the first time there are more people from a Roman Catholic background in Northern Ireland than a Protestant one. The proportion of the resident population that is either Roman Catholic or brought up as Roman Catholic is now 45.7 per cent, as against 43.48 per cent Protestant. At the same time, the proportion of the population identifying as non-religious has grown to 17.4 per cent – nearly double in the proportion in the 2011 Census. Coupled with the fact that Northern Ireland voted ‘No’ in the Brexit referendum, we cannot help wondering what effect all this might have in a future referendum on a united Ireland.

Russia and the ECtHR

The ECtHR has announced that Russia formally ceased to be a party to the ECHR on Friday 16 September 2022, following its expulsion from the Council of Europe in March. The Court says that it remains competent to deal with applications directed against Russia in relation to acts or omissions capable of constituting a violation of the ECHR, provided they occurred up to or before 16 September 2022. (How it would enforce any adverse judgment is another matter.) See also Dmitry Kurnosov, Strasbourg Observers: Russia without Strasbourg and Strasbourg without Russia: A Preliminary Outlook.

Monken Hadley Common Act 2022

One that we missed earlier. However, the Monken Hadley Common Act 2022 is a UK local Act of very limited application, the background to which is here. The Common is a remnant of the former Royal Forest of Enfield Chase, which was enclosed by the Enfield Chase Act 1777. The ownership was vested in the Churchwardens of Monken Hadley Church (“the Trustees”) as freeholders to hold it in trust for the Commoners.

Until the 1950s, the Commoners exercised their rights to use the land for grazing. The Common has been preserved as an open space for the benefit of the public and is a Metropolitan Common, protected since 1925 under s193 Law of Property Act; as a consequence, it is not open access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, but this has little practical impact on how it is used.

Following a consultation on the future of the Common in 2019, the Trustees decided to promote a Bill in Parliament to transfer the Common and other assets to a new charity – the Monken Hadley Common Trust – to be set up to own and manage it for the benefit of the public. Royal Assent was granted on 28 April 2022.

Contested heritage

On 29 May this year, we reported that St Mary Redcliffe Church Council and the Diocese of Bristol had decided to remove the four panels at the bottom of the church’s north transept window commonly known as “The Good Samaritan”, depicting the name of Edward Colston, his emblem, and the story that Colston had taken as his motto “Go and do thou likewise”.

These were replaced with plain glass as a temporary measure, and the church launched a competition to design replacements for the four dedication panels. Details of the winning design were reproduced in the Daily Telegraph; Ealish Swift, the artist who designed them, commented that the four new panels are designed to “depict a crucial aspect of our shared Bristolian history as neighbours, and reference a relevant aspect of the character of Christ”.

Of blogging

This week, there were two items of news relating to blogging: a request from David Allen Green, who has been asked to deliver a lecture on legal blogging and legal information/analysis on social media; and an announcement of the end of the Law and Lawyers blog by Obiter J, an online source which we shall miss.

From the final post of Law and Lawyers on 21 September, Thank you and a few final thoughts, it appears as though its profile is quite similar to that of L&RUK: the blog commenced on 14 January 2010 and over the last twelve years, many stories of legal interest have been covered. In total 2,357 posts have been published which attracted just over 3,018,000 pageviews.

With regard to the former, David Allen Green comments “I know some stuff about this well, but a lot I don’t know so well. What legal blogs, podcasts, tweeters etc have you found useful? Specific examples welcome!” We regularly review our own performance and links to our reviews are summarized in the Index under Analysis of L&RUK.

Quick links

And finally…

Amid the changes in names and titles following the accession of King Charles III, we note that Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End has continued its practice, dating back to 1714 on the accession of George I, of reflecting the name of the monarch and has changed its name to His Majesty’s Theatre. Formed in 1978, the Queen’s English Society is a relative newcomer and has decided that it will abide by the decision in its AGM on 25 September 2021 whereby it will “retain the name The Queen’s English Society for the foreseeable future … notwithstanding its loyalty to, its respect for, and its admiration of His Majesty King Charles III”.

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