Law & religion in the UK courts 2022

Our picks for the most significant UK religion cases over the past year.

Attorney General’s Reference No. 1 of 2022 [2022] EWCA Crim 1259: A jury at Bristol Crown Court acquitted four protestors on charges of criminal damage after they had toppled a statue of slave-trader Edward Colston into Bristol Harbour. The Attorney sought the opinion of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) on three questions of law that arose in the course of their trial about the extent to which the European Convention on Human Rights sanctioned the use of violence against property during a protest, thereby rendering lawful the causing of damage to property which would otherwise be a crime. The defence had been that it was lawful to damage the statue because it was a proportionate exercise of the right to protest, and the prosecution had been a disproportionate interference with the defendants’ rights under Articles 10 and 11 ECHR. Continue reading