Law and religion round-up – 8th October

The week in which Dame Sue Carr was sworn in as Lady Chief Justice of England & Wales…

…and a week in which fact checkers have been working overtime to counter spurious claims on the impact of HS2 developments. However, matters are still in a state of flux, as the Department of Transport has officially confirmed:

“The decision to cancel parts of the HS2 programme will require primary legislation…[t]he alternative vision set out by government for Euston, including the model with private sector funding for the HS2 station, is subject to further work and business case”.

None of this, however, is likely to affect “the UK’s largest ever human remains reburial programme” in Phase 1, described here.

Race, feminism and the Grainger criteria

At a preliminary hearing in Mr S Corby v Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service [2023] ET 1805305/2022, Mr Corby claimed that he held philosophical beliefs that challenged critical theory in general and a belief in the importance of character over race. Specifically, he claimed that the “woke” or “critical theory” approach to racism was misconceived and the belief in structural racism was divisive because it saw white people as a problem that could result in separatism, segregation and ethnocentrism. He argued that the better approach was that of Martin Luther King, who wanted a society in which people were judged by the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin, and which emphasised what people of all races had in common. He also claimed protection for his view that it was unhelpful to view social problems through feminist eyes, such as the view that high male suicide rates were unimportant.

The issue before the Tribunal was whether his views satisfied the Grainger criteria: that his beliefs were genuinely held; that they were beliefs rather than an opinion or viewpoint; that they related to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour; that they attained a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance; and that they were worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others. ACAS admitted that Mr Corby’s views were genuinely held; however, it argued that they were merely views or opinions that did not attain the necessary level of cogency and cohesiveness.

The Tribunal concluded that, in relation to race, Mr Corby held “a genuine belief which is an important part of his identity and affects the way in which he lives his life” [10]. However, he “was unable to explain coherently, when asked during the course of his evidence, his views on sex and feminism” [17] and his views on those topics did not satisfy the second of the Grainger criteria [45].

So a yes and a no – but this was a preliminary hearing, and it remains to see what will happen at the second part of the hearing.

Senedd pastoral care

The Senedd’s Cross-Party Group on Faith Chaplaincy Team has established a team of three chaplains to provide pastoral care services to complement the counselling and other support services provided by the Welsh Parliament. The team consists of a Christian chaplain, a Muslim chaplain and a humanist pastoral carer, Mari Vaughan-Owen, who is also a humanist celebrant. All the Chaplains are available to provide pastoral care to people regardless of their faith or belief.

The Senedd first engaged a Christian chaplain in 2019, but the new team was established following calls for support for non-religious members and staff. A launch event was held on  4 October.

Laudate Deum – the sequel to Laudato Si’

On 2 September 2023, in Laudato Si’ – the sequel we reported that in an “off the cuff comment” to a delegation of lawyers, Pope Francis announced that he was writing a second part of his encyclical Laudato Si’ to update it to “current issues”. On 4 October, following some confusing internal Vatican politicsLaudate Deum was published. While the text was initially billed as a papal encyclical like its predecessor, it was published as an apostolic exhortation – a papal text considered to have less authoritative weight. An analysis of the document has been issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales.

Pink heaters approved for All Saints Stanton

Despite the disdain expressed by the SPAB and the Victorian Society for infra-red heaters, “Magic Lamp” technology infra-red heaters were approved in Re All Saints Stanton [2023] ECC SEI 2. The petitioners were seeking to remedy the shortcomings of the church’s existing underfloor heating system installed in April 2010 under the guidance of the church’s then inspecting surveyor, with the support of the DAC’s heating adviser: “it struggles to raise the temperature of the church. To be most effective it should be running constantly at a low setting”. Gau Ch commented:

“[10]. …I have to say I share the DAC’s intrigue that the Victorian Society should have chosen to respond to matters outwith their perceived expertise, but nevertheless I am grateful for their input”;

““[17]. …in all the circumstances, including importantly the matters of the expense of running the underfloor heating that is currently installed, I approve the proposals. A church whose finances are being eaten up running 24-hour heating is not going to be in a position to carry out any missional work“.

A fuller analysis of the case is in “Magic lamp” technology to heat church. For the curious, the ‘Magic Lamp’ technology chosen by the petitioners “results in a much reduced glare and a soft pink light rather than the more usual red”.

Quick links

And finally…

“Congratulations to Ian Bishop who was consecrated as Bishop of Thetford yesterday,” said The Times Diary, “becoming the third Bishop Bishop after William Bishop in 1623 and Jim Bishop in 1962 (see also Judge Judge, former Lord Chief Justice). To add to the nominative neatness I was told this by a reader called Ken Christian.”

Except that Lord Judge was never actually known as “Judge Judge”: he began his judicial career as Mr Justice Judge ­­– which is not quite the same thing.

7 thoughts on “Law and religion round-up – 8th October

  1. … and also except that the new Bishop is Bishop Ian, not Bishop Bishop. To add to the nominative neatness, we were reminded of this by another Ian (viz., Hislop, last night on Have I Got News For You).

    • And Clifford Leofric Purdey Bishop (of Malmesbury) was, I believe, known as “Bishop Leofric” – though he was universally called Jim.

  2. Strictly, I think the distinguished Igor Judge probably began his judicial career as Mr Assistant Recorder Judge.

  3. Pingback: Law and religion round-up – 8th October - 365 Political News

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