Law and religion roundup – 11th February

Asylum seekers

At Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons on Wednesday, Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham) (Con) said this:

“In the 10 years to COVID, the number of baptisms in the Church of England has fallen from 140,000 a year to 87,000, so Christianity in the UK seems to be on the wane, unless, apparently, you are from a Muslim country in the middle of an asylum claim. We are now told that one in seven occupants of the Bibby Stockholm has suddenly become a practising Christian. Given that the Church of England has now issued secret guidance to clergy supporting asylum applications for these Damascene conversions, to whom is the Church accountable? Are taxpayers being scammed by the Archbishop?” (901400)

In response, the Archbishop of Canterbury took the unusual step of issuing this statement on the following day:

“Over the last week, it has been disappointing to see the mischaracterisation of the role of churches and faith groups in the asylum system.

Churches up and down the country are involved in caring for vulnerable people from all backgrounds. For refugees and those seeking asylum, we simply follow the teaching of the Bible which is to care for the stranger.

It is the job of the Government to protect our borders and of the courts to judge asylum cases. The Church is called to love mercy and do justice. I encourage everyone to avoid irresponsible and inaccurate comments – and let us not forget that at the heart of this conversation are vulnerable people whose lives are precious in the sight of God.”

General Synod Papers

On 9 February, the Church of England issued the Press Release Synod to address biodiversity, safeguarding, racial justice and Prayers of Love and Faith. It includes links to the papers for the forthcoming Group of Sessions for the meeting at Church House on 23-27 February 2024. This indicates that Synod will address biodiversity, safeguarding, racial justice and Prayers of Love and Faith; and Thinking Anglicans has helpfully produced a day-by-day summary.  Additionally, the “GS Misc” papers which are not to be debated include updates on the Clergy Conduct Measure (GS Misc 1368) and the Wedding Fee Waiver proposal (GS Misc 1371).

Ecclesiastical Law Journal

The latest issue of the Ecclesiastical Law Journal has just been published. As well as the usual book reviews and case-notes, it includes the following:

  • Mark Hill: ‘Aston Cantlow v Wallbank: a twenty-year retrospective’.
  • Sir Nicholas Mostyn: ‘Voidable marriages’.
  • Marco Galimberti and Tania Pagotto: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone? Freedom of worship, COVID-19 and the Courts’.
  • Martin Warner: ‘Comment: Episcopacy, law and government’.


DLA Piper has just published a series of notes on leading cases on religion/belief and employment law:

We have covered most of these on the blog, but not all.

Quick links

And finally…

It was reported that “[a]bout 59 miles of long-rooted ivy pulled from graves [yesterday] by volunteers at Highgate Cemetery; probably 72,000 more miles to go”. However, being privately owned, this would not fall within the “Land and Nature” initiative to be debated by Synod. 

One thought on “Law and religion roundup – 11th February

  1. Pingback: Church of England faces controversy over insincere conversions to gain asylum (Religion Clause) – Via Nova

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