Law and religion round-up – 7th July

A week spent checking that we did not “use religious jargon in a way which ontologically results in epistemological confusion”…

… as Archbishop Welby warned us against in his live Q&A at Facebook UK’s Headquarters, when he launched the Church of England’s digital charter and guidelines. In our round-up of June judgments on Wednesday, it was evident that social media comment is infiltrating the Church’s faculty jurisdiction; in Re St James Heckmondwike [2019] ECC Lee, there were issues of the accuracy of social media comment, at [7], and their acceptability, at [10] and [12]. However, the put-down was amply dealt with by the petitioner, the Revd Karen Young, who said [12]:

“St James uses formal Eucharistic liturgy and favours a traditional but liberal style. We do not recognise the terms ‘Nuts’, ‘Dumwits’ [sic] or even ‘Evangelical loons’ as mentioned on the organists’ Facebook page. As a PCC, we rely on the Faculty system and DAC advice to ensure a sense of proportion in these matters.”


Possibly the major news of the week was the Court of Appeal’s judgment in R (Ngole) v The University of Sheffield [2019] EWCA Civ 1127, in which the Court allowed the appeal of Mr Ngole, a second-year Master’s student on a social work course who was excluded from the course by the Faculty of Social Sciences Fitness to Practise Committee after comments he posted on Facebook about his personal opposition to same-sex marriage. The Court helpfully summarised the reasons for its judgment at [5] – which had the great advantage of being authoritative and objective and, incidentally, saving us a lot of work. We noted it here. Continue reading