Church of England’s argument against gay marriage is without foundation – Paul Johnson

15 June 2012 by

At the heart of the Church of England’s (CoE) response to the Government’s Equal marriage: a consultation is an argument about the existence and importance of canon law on marriage. The CoE pins its objection to same-sex marriage on the assertion that its ‘teaching on marriage is embodied in law’ and that the Government has failed to consider the significance of canon law in its proposal to change the statutory organization of civil marriage.

What exactly is canon law and how does it relate to marriage?

Canon law (or Canons Ecclesiastical), as set out in the Canons of the Church of England, is primary legislation that determines inter alia the doctrine and form of worship of the CoE. Since the First Act of Supremacy 1534, canon law has been formally subservient to ‘state law’ – it has become progressively subsumed by both common and statutory law – but has often retained a strong influence, particularly in respect of marriage.

For example, when Parliament enacted the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, which transferred jurisdiction from the ecclesiastical courts of the CoE to the High Court, it stated that the High Court should be ‘conformable to the Principles and Rules on which the Ecclesiastical Courts have heretofore acted and given Relief’. The CoE retains considerable control of the content of canon law through Measures (created by the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919) that enable it to make amendments and create new provisions. Measures are submitted to the Ecclesiastical Committee of the UK Parliament for consideration and are ultimately subject to Parliamentary scrutiny and approval. Canon law does therefore rely on Royal Assent and License but, where this is given (which it almost always is), it continues to form primary legislation made by the CoE.

Canon B 30 of the most recent edition of the Canons provides the canonical definition of marriage:

The Church of England affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union, permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side.

Reading the response of the CoE to the equal marriage consultation, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Government was proposing legislation that would change this definition of marriage in canon law. The CoE state, for instance, that:

Were legislation to be enacted by Parliament that changed the definition of marriage for the purposes of the law of England, the status and effect of the canonical provisions that set out the Church’s doctrine of marriage as being between one man and one woman would be called into question.

Yet the Government’s consultation document explicitly states that:

marriages solemnized through a religious ceremony and on religious premises would still only be legally possible between a man and a woman. The Government is not seeking to change how religious organisations define religious marriage…

What is the problem?

So what is the CoE’s problem? They claim that legalizing same-sex civil marriage will produce an irreconcilable conflict between canon and statutory law. They argue that because the ‘Canons of the Church of England are part of the law of England’, the existence of new statutory law on same-sex civil marriage would create an unsustainable ‘clash’ between, what Lord Carey has gone on to describe as, ‘mutually contradictory versions of matrimony within English law’.

This argument is an obfuscation of the relationship between canon and statutory law that is long established and clearly defined in England. Section 1(3b) of the Synodical Government Measure 1969, applying the provisions of the Submission of the Clergy Act 1533, states that ‘no Canons shall be made or put in execution […] which are contrary or repugnant to the Royal prerogative or the customs, laws or statutes of this realm’. Since the Government are proposing legislation that relates only to civil marriage, and not to marriage that falls within the ambit of canon law, the CoE’s canon law on marriage will not be contrary to the ‘Royal prerogative or the customs, laws or statutes’ of England.

The Government’s proposals on same-sex marriage exercise Parliamentary sovereignty in a manner that pays (rightly or wrongly) the greatest respect to the existing role of canon law. Because Parliament acts as the proxy for the royal supremacy to which canon law must acquiesce, the Government could have sought to supersede canon law on marriage by introducing statutory legislation that conflicted with it. That it has explicitly chosen not to do this should be seen as a sign of support for, rather than an attack on, the long-established relationship between church and state in England. Regardless of whether one believes (as I do) that the Government is wrong to seek to prohibit same-sex religious marriage, it cannot be accused of ‘vandalizing’ canon law or creating the ‘worst threat’ to the CoE since it was established.

Cynical strategy

The CoE’s argument regarding canon law is without any foundation. Canon law, under the Government’s proposals, will be left untouched. The CoE could even, should it wish to, strengthen the heterosexual exclusivity of its canon law on marriage through the introduction of new Measures prohibiting same-sex marriage on its religious premises in the future; the proposed statutory legislation on same-sex civil marriage would provide no bar to it doing this. Like others, I believe that this would be regarded as acceptable by the European Court of Human Rights under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In light of this, the focus on canon law in the CoE’s response to the consultation must be seen as a cynical strategy designed to stall this important development in civil marriage law. It is a tactic that attempts to obscure and mystify the relationship between canon and statutory law in order to convince of the CoE’s legal authority in marriage. Yet neither canon law nor the CoE has any legal influence in respect of civil marriage which remains regulated solely by common and statutory law.

Whilst the CoE’s response to the Government’s consultation demonstrates its trenchant ideological opposition to the social evolution of marriage, its reliance on canon law reveals how threadbare its arguments have become. In place of robust and rational argument, the CoE have resorted to incoherent and flawed legal claims which, once subjected to scrutiny, fail to provide any justification for preventing gay men and lesbians in loving, permanent and life-long relationships from contracting civil marriage.

Paul Johnson is Anniversary Reader in Sociology at the University of York. This piece is an edited version of a longer article originally published in Jurist.

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  1. Lazarus says:

    ‘its trenchant ideological opposition to the social evolution of marriage, its reliance on canon law reveals how threadbare its arguments’

    When you start using highly emotive language like this, you need to be very sure of your legal case: even if the C of E’s analysis were wrong, it would still be a long way before you’d shown that their case was so obviously flawed that it could only be a ‘cynical strategy’. Benjamin Gray’s comment is spot on: even if you think this issue is resolvable in some way, the C of E’s argument clearly has some merit.

  2. Forgive me if I’ve missed something, but as I understand it (admittedly only from browsing Halsbury’s), there is no such thing as religious vs. civil “marriage”. There is only one institution, albeit with a variety of ceremonies (broadly CofE, Secular and other religious). One room, different doors; not different rooms. The terminology of “marriage” as ceremony and “marriage” as institution seems to be blurred here.

    If the law as it currently stands (partially in the form of the MCA 1971) is amended, the effect will be that marriage, as a single institution, will no longer be defined as being monogamous and sex-specific.

    If that is the case, then the CofE definition of marriage would be at odds with the legal definition. The worry is then that they would be open to legal challenge that would force them to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples.

    I don’t say this by way of argument against gay marriage (I’m broadly in favour). But it seems to me that this argument has some merit in it, and requires a much more serious consideration of how to implement the change while respecting the conscience rights of others. Going around supposing it only affects one discrete “form” of marriage ignores that the law at present (appears) to treat it as a single whole.

    1. David Lamming says:

      Benjamin: you are absolutely right. Paul Johnson is making the same error as the Government has done in its consultation paper by confusing the institution of marriage with the ceremony (or process) by which two people become married. As I pointed out in my letter, published in The Times on 15 March 2012, marriage cannot be split between civil marriage and religious marriage as the Government seems to think. This was made clear over 100 years ago in R v Dibdin [1910] P 57 (CA), [1912] AC 533 (HL). In the Court of Appeal, Fletcher Moulton LJ said (p. 114): “The contract of marriage is a contract whereby a man and a woman accept the relationship of husband and wife, the one to the other, and the status and obligations that flow therefrom. The procedure by which the contract can legally be made may vary widely, but the result is in all cases the same. To the law there is only one contract of marriage.” In the House of Lords, Lord Ashbourne said (p.543): “They are lawful spouses, whether married in church or registrar’s office, and must in law be so regarded.”

      The lack of any reference to this leading case highlights the paucity of legal analysis in the ‘Equal Civil Marriage’ consultation paper, albeit that para 2.15 states the “intention to enable all aspects of current marriage and divorce law to apply to same-sex couples…. This means that the reasons for ending a marriage will be the same for all couples, regardless of gender and regardless of how they had entered into the marriage – whether through a religious or civil ceremony.” The paper then proposes that what will constitute same-sex consummation and same-sex adultery (concepts which are absent from civil partnerships but which will apply to proposed ‘equal’ marriage) is to be left to case law to develop: i.e. it’s a consequence of the Government’s proposal too problematic for Government to consider so they will leave it to the judges. Hardly an appropriate way to legislate a fundamental change in one of society’s basic institutions!

    2. Waldron-fan says:

      I agree that Paul Johnson’s piece does seem to miss the point of CoE’s claim about the state changing the unitary nature of the “room”/institution that the church “door”/ceremony is giving access to. But isn’t CoE’s problem with this argument that the fact that they have already sold the equivalent pass on marriage for divorced people? Canon law says the institution is “lifelong … till death do them part” (and I believe CoE, unlike some Jewish & Muslim creeds, does not give its own divorces), and CoE only started allowing divorced people to marry in 2002 and only then at the Priest’s discretion. The state will divorce people and allow divorced people to marry, and does not ask couples to declare that they will stay together permanently (so atheist lawyers are free to marry in the Register Office on the basis that they know they can divorce on 2 years’ separation plus consent). Surely that means CoE has already long since accepted that the state is letting additional people into this insitution on the basis of having a very different conception of its nature, and that CoE accepts that it just has tighter rules on who can get through its door into that institution, without canon law being threatened by civil law’s different conception of the room they are entering.

      1. Paul Johnson says:

        Hello Benjamin, David, and Waldron-Fan. Thanks for your comments. With respect, I don’t think I have missed a point made by the Church of England or am making the mistake that you attribute to the Government. You are right that marriage is marriage is marriage. No one disagrees with the interpretation that, regardless of where it is contracted, marriage is one institution. I made that point in a reply to David above.

        The Government have adopted – and I have reiterated – a form of words that distinguishes between marriages that are formalised on civil premises and on religious premises. The law which regulates how marriage is contracted across these civil and religious spheres is made up of (at least) 500 years of canon, common and statutory law. It is true that in respect of the heterosexual exclusivity of marriage canon, common and statutory law have remained in sympathy with each other. That is why David can points to a heterosexual definition of marriage given in the Court of Appeal 100 years ago and in the longer version of my article, published in Jurist, I could give an even older one. But these three sources of law have often diverged and, in their diversity, have supported different understandings of marriage according to context.

        For example, Canon B 30 of the Church of England makes provisions for marriage in respect of persons who have been divorced. The statuary law on marriage respects the existence of canon law on divorce and allows the Church of England to refuse to marry divorcees; something which would not hold in the context of a civil marriage (by which I mean: a marriage contracted on civil premises). This legal distinction in the approach to divorce – between canon and statutory law – have often produced the same type of arguments about a ‘clash’ and ‘disintegration’ of church and state found in debates about same-sex marriage (not least in the context of the marriage of Charles and Camilla when, to ‘fudge’ the problem, the couple had a civil ceremony and then a religious blessing). Another example: go and have a look at the section on ‘marriage’ in ‘Quaker Faith and Practice’. Section 16.32 shows the way that canon and statuary law differ on the arrangements for marriage but, in this context, have been accommodated by the Quakers themselves:

        “Although Friends’ marriages are exempted from certain provisions of the Marriage Act 1949, nevertheless it has been decided by the yearly meeting that marriages shall be solemnised on any day within the hours enacted for marriages generally (between the hours of eight in the morning and six in the afternoon) in a meeting house or other place to which the public has access and where a recognised public meeting for worship is regularly held at least once every calendar month”.

        The key point I was making in my piece was that there are many ways in which canon, common and statutory law on marriage differ and that the Church of England’s argument about the ‘problem of difference’ is without foundation. When the Government enact the legislation that they propose – which will define marriage, for the purposes of solemnisation in a civil context, as a contract between persons of opposite or different sexes – it will leave canon law completely untouched. The Church of England will be able to retain their canon law on heterosexual marriage, and the Quakers will not be able to amend their marriage regulations to permit same-sex marriage.

        Will there be a challenge under the Human Rights Act/European Convention on Human Rights to argue that the difference between marriage in civil and religious contexts amounts to discrimination under Articles 12 and 14? Yes, there probably will be. Will this challenge succeed? I believe not, because the UK Government will argue that its legislation is designed to respect the rights and freedoms of religious believers under Article 9 (of course, the Government would strengthen its case if it produced legislation that gave religious organisations, like the Quakers, the right to opt in or out of same-sex marriage).

        I am afraid that if you want a unitary legal approach to marriage then we will have to follow Martina’s suggestion above and withdraw the right for any religious organisation to formalise marriage. I would very much support Martina’s idea and think it would produce, as she says, true equality in marriage. But to do that, the Government would have to pass legislation that undid all of the accommodations that the state has made to religious usages since 1534. It will not do that, but will leave canon law intact. If you are a member of the Church of England who is against same-sex marriage you could interpret this as a sign that the Government wishes to perpetuate a legal system in which religious organisations get to decide the ‘who, when and how’ of marriage on their own premises. If you are a member of the Church of England (or any other religious organisation) and are in favour of same-sex marriage you might argue that the Government is depriving you of the right to decide the ‘who, when and how’ of marriage on your own premises. But what neither side can argue is that the Government is vandalising or rewriting canon law.

    3. Imagine if changes were proposed for British Citizenship, (e.g. that it could be transferred to others by deed) but that the proponents of these changes insisted that it would only affect those of us who are citizens by descent, but not by birth. Could you really expect the law would uphold preventing natives of this country from transferring citizenship by deed?

      These same-sex marriage proposals are using a similarly specious distinction between the means of solemnisation in order to belittle the wholesale impact.

  3. Martina Osterloh says:

    The cleanest sollution to the problem would be to withdraw the power to legally marry anyone from ALL religious bodies and reserve them to the state alone. If people wish to be married in the eyes of the religion of their choice, then they can do so at an additional ceremony, but only the registrar (and therefore the state) should have power to perform the legally binding procedure. That is how it is done in many continental European countries. Such a system treats all religions equally AND would advance the separation of church and state in the UK.

  4. Philip Dorling says:

    I don’t know why this issue is so difficult for people to get their heads around…..Currently there is one type of ‘marriage’ in the UK… can be formalised in a church or in a registry office. If the government progress ‘equal’ marriage something new emerges…..civil marriage……they want to say that it is the same as religious marriage…. but also in some way different. Unfortunately the European Court for Human rights will not live with this sort of fudge…..for them the new thing will either be marriage or not! (and I agree with their logic even though as a Christian I am against same sex marriage). The simple way round this is to call the ‘new thing’ something else….how about ‘civil partnership’?……an old idea which makes me realise that we should not be having this debate at all……(P.S in this secular age why not extend Civil Partnership to heterosexuals?)…..

    1. Steve H says:

      ‘…as a Christian I am against same sex marriage’

      Many Christians are in favour of same-sex marriage because it commits the couple to lifelong fidelity and also because it celebrates marriage as an institution.

      The ideal promoted by Jesus and later, Paul, is for lifelong celibacy for all Christians with marriage being second best.

  5. this summary of the original CofE press release and response may be useful

  6. Michael says:

    Wouldn’t it be simpler to just remove the spooky and ridiculous ‘Lords Spiritual’ from Government completely ?

  7. David says:

    If I follow your argument correctly, it relies upon a distinction between civil & religious marriages (& not simply between civil & religious wedding ceremonies). Is this correct? Whilst the difference between the respective civil & religious ceremonies is commonly recognised, I was not aware of any difference in church or civil law between the statuses of church & civil married couples.

    If you are correct in this distinction, then does it not follow that the church should not recognise civil marriage?

    1. Paul Johnson says:

      That is correct, David. Marriage is a civil institution which is governed by common and statutory law. English law distinguishes between marriage in respect of where it is contracted: either in a civil context (e.g. registry office) or religious one (e.g. church). In each context the state effectively empowers officials (civil and religious) to perform the function of marrying couples and, although these take different forms according to the context, the outcome is the same: two opposite sex people become married. Under the Government’s proposals new statutory legislation would be created to allow civil marriage to take place between same-sex couples in civil contexts. It would not require any change in the context of marriage that takes place on religious premises where, at the moment, marriage law is in harmony with canon law (canon law being the ‘ideas’ and ‘rules’ of the CoE). Distinctions in the legal arrangements for marriages contracted in religious and civil contexts are common. They’re what allows a CoE church to refuse to marry a couple who have already been married and are divorced; and what entitles that same couple to marry in a registry office. In other words, statutory law respects the canon law and will continue to do so. The CoE will not be required to change its canonical position and marry same-sex couples.

  8. John says:

    It’s worse than this because the govt is capitulating to the COE by preventing all religious groups from conducting gay marriages in their places of worship. There are a number of religious groups, including Christians, who do recognise gay marriage. So much for freedom of religion. It is time for disestablishment to take place.

  9. Geoffrey says:

    The learned Judge in P & L (Minors), Re [2011] EWHC 3431 (Fam) (20 December 2011) said, “. . . in a case like this we are in what is still new territory in defining the roles of the various parties in the context of parenting.”
    It will be necessary to have simple words to describe the relationships that may arise. Why not “marriage” for the formalised male – female instance and something else for other combinations?

  10. Paul Crofts says:

    Isn’t canon law the Christian equivalent to sharia law within Islam?

    1. Geoffrey says:

      I believe that Shari’a has a wider application across all aspects of life.

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Labour Organisation international law International Stem Cell Corporation international treaty obligations internet internet libel internet service providers internment internship interrogation intrusion inuit invasive species invention investigation investigative duty in vitro fertilisation Iran iranian bank sanctions Iranian nuclear program iran sanctions Iraq Iraqi asylum seeker Iraq War Ireland Irish Constitution irrationality ISC ISIL islam isolated nucleic acids isolation Israel israeli palestinian conflict italian ships Italy iTunes IVF ivory ban Jack Dorsey jackson reforms Janowiec and Others v Russia ( Japan japanese knotweed Jason Smith jean charles de menezes Jeet Singh Jefferies jehovah's witnesses Jeremy Clarkson Jeremy Corbyn jeremy hunt jihad Jihadi brides jihadists JIH identity jim duffy job jobseekers' allowance Jogee John Hemming John Terry joint enterprise joint tenancy jonathan sumption Jon Guant Joseph v Spiller journalism judaism judges Judges and Juries judging judgment judgment in default Judicial activism judicial brevity judicial deference Judicial immunity judicial no-mans land judicial oversight judicial power judicial review Judicial Review reform Judicial Studies Board judiciary Julian Assange Julian Asssange Juncker jurisdiction jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Act Justice and Security Bill Justice and Security Green Paper Justice Cameron Justice Human Rights Awards JUSTICE Human Rights Awards 2010 justiciability justification just satisfaction Kant Katyn Massacre Kay v Lambeth Kay v UK kazakstan Ken Clarke Ken Pease Kerry McCarthy Kettling Khan v Advocate General for Scotland khordokovsky Kings College Kiobel Klimas koran burning laboratory animals laboratory test Labour labour law lack of reasons Lady Hale land landfill gas landowner landowners language lansley NHS reforms LASPO Law Commission Law Pod UK Law Society Law Society of Scotland leave to enter leave to remain Lee Rigby legal advice privilege legal aid legal aid cuts Legal Aid desert Legal Aid Reforms legal blogs Legal Certainty legality legal naughty step Legal Ombudsman legal privilege legal profession legal professional privilege legal representation legitimate expectation let as a dwelling Leveson Inquiry Levi Bellfield lewisham hospital closure Lewis Malcolm Calver liability Libel libel reform Liberal Democrat Conference Liberal Democrats liberal humanism Liberty libraries closure library closures licence conditions licence to shoot licensee life insurance life orders life sentence life support limestone pavements limitation lisbon treaty Lithuania litigant in person litvinenko live exports livestock livestock trade living instrument living will LME local authorities local government locked in syndrome locus standi london borough of merton London Legal Walk London Probation Trust Lord Bingham Lord Bingham of Cornhill Lord Blair Lord Carey Lord Goldsmith lord irvine Lord Judge Lord Judge speech Lord Justice Jackson Lord Kerr Lord Lester Lord Mance Lord Neuberger Lord Phillips Lord Rodger Lord Sales Lord Saville Report Lord Sumption Lord Taylor LSC tender luftur rahman MAGA Magna Carta Magna Carter Mail Online mail on sunday Majority Verdict Malcolm Kennedy male circumcision malice malicious falsehood mandela M and Others v Her Majesty’s Treasury manifestation of belief manifestos Margaret Thatcher Margin of Appreciation margin of discretion Maria Gallastegui Marie Colvin marine conservation marine environmental law marine sanctuaries Mark Kennedy mark twain marriage marriage act 1949 material support maternity pay Matthew Woods Mattu v The University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust [2011] EWHC 2068 (QB) Maya the Cat Mba v London Borough Of Merton Mcfarlane McKenzie friend me/cfs research Media and Censorship media judge Medical medical confidentiality medical ethics medical evidence medical liability medical negligence medical profession medical qualifications medical records medical treatment medicine mental capacity mental capacity; press; reporting restrictions Mental Capacity Act Mental Capacity Act 2005 Mental Health mental health act mental health advocacy mental health awareness Mental Health Courts mental health hospital Mental illness merits review mesothelioma metgate MGN v UK michael gove Middle Temple Midwives Milly Dowler minimally conscious minimum income minimum sentence Ministerial Code Ministry of Justice Ministry of Justice cuts miscarriage of justice misfeasance in public office missiles misuse of private information mitochondrial disease MMR MMR vaccination modern slavery Mohamed monitoring powers monsanto montgomery mooring moral circle morality morocco mortgage fraud mortuaries motherhood motor neuron disease Motor Neurone disease Moulton Mousa movement for democratic change MP expenses Mr Brewer Mr Gul Mr Justice Eady Mr Justice Sharp MS (Palestinian Territories) (FC) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Munchausen Munchausen by proxy murder murder reform music Musician's Union Muslim mustafa kamal mutation mutations myanmar MY Cannis my kingdom for a horse Myriad NADA v. SWITZERLAND - 10593/08 - HEJUD [2012] ECHR 1691 Nadja Benaissa naked rambler Naomi Campbell narcolepsy National Health Act nationality National Origin National Pro Bono Week national security national sovereignty Natural England natural rights nature nature conservation naturism Nazi neanderthals necessary implication need for legal aid needs assessment negligence neighbour dispute Neuberger neural degeneration neurogenerative disease neuroscience Newcastle university news News of the World news roundup new Supreme Court President NGO standing NHS NHS Risk Register NICE Nick Clegg Nicklinson Niqaab niqab No Angels Noise Regulations 2005 non-justiciability nonhuman animals non voluntary euthanasia Northern Ireland Northern Irish Assembly notification requirements nuclear challenges nuisance nurse nursing nursing home obiter dicta Occupy London offensive jokes Offensive Speech offensive t shirt official solicitor of Rights Commission oil and gas oil spill olympics open justice oppress oppressive treatment OPQ v BJM orchestra orthodox schools Osama Bin Laden Osborn v The Parole Board [2013] UKSC 61 ouster clause overseas aid Oxford University Palestinian Territories palliative care palliative sedation paramount consideration paramountcy principle parental responsibility order parental rights parenthood parents responsibility parking spaces parliament parliamentary expenses parliamentary expenses scandal Parliamentary sovereignty Parliament square parole parole board party funding passengers rights passing off passive smoking passport passport seizure pastor Terry Jones patent patents paternity Pathway Students patiets' rights Patrick Quinn murder Paul Chambers PCOs peace-keeping operations Pensions people for the ethical treatment of animals (Peta) performers' rights permanent injunction persecution persistent vegetative state personal data personal information Personal Injury personality rights Personal life perversity Pet Animals Act 1951 Peter and Hazelmary Bull Peter Gibson pet shops PF and EF v UK Philip Lawrence Phil Woolas phone hacking phone taps photos photovoltaics physical and mental disabilities physical restraint physician assisted death Pinnock Piracy PJS placement order planning planning human rights planning system planning time limits plantagenet plebgate pleural plaques POCA podcast points poison Poland Police police investigations police liability police misconduct police powers police surveillance policing Policy Exchange report political advertising political judges political persecution politicians for hire Politics Politics/Public Order pollution polonium poor reporting Pope Pope's visit Pope Benedict porsche 917 portal possession order possession proceedings post mortem Posts power of attorney PoW letters to ministers pre-nup pre-nuptial Pre-trial detention predator control pregnancy preliminary reference prerogative powers press Press Association press briefing press freedom Priest priests primary legislation Prince Andrew Prince Charles prince of wales princess caroline of monaco principle of subsidiarity prior restraint prison Prisoners prisoners rights prisoners voting prisoner vote prisoner votes prisoner voting prison numbers prison rules Prisons prison vote privacy privacy injunction privacy law through the front door private disputes Private life private nuisance private use procedural unfairness Procedure proceeds of crime Professional Discipline professional indemnity Professional life Property property rights proportionality prosecution Protection of Freedoms Act Protection of Freedoms Bill protective costs Protest protest camp protest rights Protocol 15 psychiatric hospitals psychology psychotherapy Public/Private public access publication public authorities public authority public bodies Public Bodies Bill public figure public funding public inquiries public inquiry public interest public interest environmental litigation public interest immunity public interest litigation publicity public law unfairness Public Order public powers public procurement Public Sector Equality Duty Public Services Ombudsman Putin putting the past behind quango quantum quarantine Queen's Speech queer in the 21st century R (on the application of) v Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts & Anor [2012] EWCA Civ 472 R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors [2011] EWCA Civ 895 R (on the application of) v The General Medical Council [2013] EWHC 2839 (Admin) R (on the application of EH) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 2569 (Admin) R (on the application of G) v The Governors of X School Rabone Rabone and another v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust [2012] UKSC 2 Race race relations Rachel Corrie racial discrimination Racial equality radio radiotherapy Radmacher Raed Salah Mahajna Raed Saleh Ramsgate randomised controlled trial rape rape case raptors Ratcliffe 6 Ratcliffe on Soar Ratcliffe power station rating rationality rcs RCW v A Local Authority reasonableness reasons reasons challenges recent case law and news Recent posts reception conditions recognition of judgments recreational rights Redfearn v UK referendum reform refugee applications refugee crisis refugee status refusal of treatment Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages registration regulatory rehabilitation of offenders Reith Lectures Re J (A Child: Disclosure) [2012] EWCA Civ 1204 relgious freedom Religion religion in the courts religious beliefs religious discrimination religious freedom religious prosecution remedies renewables subsidies rent repeal reporting restrictions representation reproductive rights reproductive technologies reproductive wrongs rescue rescuer's claim resettlement of offenders resource allocation respect for family life responsibility in tort restrictions on exports restrictions on liberty results 2010 resuscitation retrospective application of the Human Rights Act retrospective legislation retrospective penalty retrospectivity rev paul nicholson reynolds Reynolds defence Re [2012] EWCA Civ 1233 richard III Richard O'Dwyer right of appeal rightsifno RightsInfo rights of children Right to a fair hearing right to a fair trial right to a home right to a remedy right to artistic expression right to a student loan right to autonomy right to autonomy and privacy right to die right to dies right to die with dignity right to dignity right to education right to expression right to family life right to food right to free enjoyment of possessions right to information right to liberty right to life right to peaceful enjoyment of property Right to Privacy right to private and family life right to refuse treatment right to respect for private life right to silence right to strike right to swim right to truth right to vote Rihanna Rio Ferdinand riots ripa rise of fascism risk risk assessment rival supermarkets Roma Roman Catholic Roman Catholic Church roman catholic schools Romania Rooney's Gold roundup roundup ready Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust royal dutch petroleum royal name Royal Oper House Royal Prerogative rule of law Rupert Jackson Rusal Russia russia and human rights Russian Federal Security Service Rutherford Ryanair s sadie frost Safari same-sex same sex parents same sex partnerships same sex relationship sanctions set aside sanctity of life Sandiford Sapiens Sarah Ferguson sark satire saudi arabia Savage (Respondent) v South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Saville Report schedule 7 schizophrenia school building school surveillance schrems science scientific atheism scientific research scientology Scoppola Scotland Scotland Act Scotland Act 1998 Scotland Bill Scottish Government Scottish Human Rights Commission scottish landlord and tenant Scottish Parliament SCOTUS sea fishing seals Seal v UK search engines search powers secondary legislation secondary smoking secrecy Secretary of State Secretary of State for the Home Department v AP secret courts secret criminal trial secret evidence secret justice Secret trials sectarianism secularism security security cameras security services security vetting Sedar Mohammed segregation Select Committee on AI self-defence self-incrimination seminar sentencing September 11 serco serious harm sermon Seroxat service outside jurisdiction set-off Sewel Convention sex abuse sex ban sex ban low IQ sex offender Sex offenders sex register sexual abuse Sexual Offences sexual orientation sexual orientation regulations SFO investigation sfo unlawfulness shaker aamer Shamima Begum sham marriage shared residence order Sharon Shoesmith shetland shipping shipwreck Shirley Chaplin shooting shoulder shrug should trees have rights SIAC sihkism Simon Singh sir alan ward Sir Nicholas Wall Sir Peter six months rule slander slaughterhouses slavery smacking small claims court small solar Smith Smith & Ors v The Ministry of Defence [2012] EWCA Civ 1365 smog smoking ban Snyder v Phelps social and economic rights social benefits social housing socialite social media social security law social welfare social workers Solicitorsfromhell website solitary confinement soma somali pirates sources South Africa south african constitution sovereignty Sovereignty clause soviet union soybean Spanish properties spare room subsidy special advocate special advocates species specific performance spending cuts spielmann squatters Standing standing rules starvation state immunity statelessness statute statutory power Statutory purpose stay of execution stem cell research stem cells stem cell therapy Stephen Gough stephen sedley stepping hill hospital Sterilisation steve macqueen Steven Neary stobart-law stop and search stop powers Stormont Assembly storms Strasborug Strasbourg Strasbourg Court strasbourg damages pirates strasbourg law Strasbourg terminology strategic environmental assessment strike strike out Strikes student loans sturgeon subsidies Sugar v BBC suicide suicide act 1961 super injunction super injunctions supermax prisons superstition Supreme Court Supreme Court Live Supreme Court of Canada Supreme Court Scotland surgery surrogacy surrogacy arrangement surveillance swine flu Syria systemic violence Take That tallinn tariff Taser Tax tax avoidance tax discrimination tchenguiz technology Telegraph telephone preference service television justice tenancy tent city termination termination of pregnancy terror asset freezing Terrorism terrorism act terrorism act 2000 terrorism legislation terrorism prosecution terrorist finance terrorist threat terry pratchett Tesla testamentary dispositions The Bike Project the Catholic church The Corner House theism The Law in These Parts therapy Theresa May the right to privacy The Stig The Sun third countries third party appeals three way case time limits time limits in human rights Tobacco tobacco cartels Top Gear tort Torture torture inquiry totally without merit TPIM TPP tracking trade trade secrets trades unions trade union congress Trade Unions transexual transsexual transsexuals travel travellers travel restrictions treason treatment treaty treaty accession trial by jury trolling TTIP TTM v London Borough of Hackney & Ors Tugendhat tumour Turkey tweeting in court Twitter twitter in court Twitter Joke Trial UK UK citizenship uk constitution UK election UK Human Rights Blog UK Human Rights Roundup UKIP UK Jewish Film Festival ukraine UK Supreme Court UK Uncut ultra orthodox jews ultra vires UN unable to vote unacceptable behaviour policy unaccompanied minors unborn child UN Convention on the Rights of the Child unelected judges unemployment unfair consultation unfair dismissal unfairness at hearing Unison Unite United Against Fascism Group United Kingdom United Nations United States United States v Windsor universal declaration of human rights universal jurisdiction Universal Periodic Review University University Fees university of east anglia University of Southampton unjust and oppressive unlawful arrest unlawful detention unpaid work schemes UN Resolution unsolicited calls UPR US aviation US Constitution use as of right US Supreme Court vaccination Valkyries variants veganism vehicle breakdown vetting and barring vicarious liability victim victim status Victoria Climbie victorian charter Vienna airport vigilantism villagisation vinton cerf violence violist visa scheme vivisection voluntary euthanasia Volunteers voter compensation voters compensation voting voting compensation vulnerable Wagner Wakefield Wales War war correspondents ward of court War Horse water utilities Watts Wayne Rooney Websites welfare of child welfare of children welfare of the child welfare state welsh bill western sahara whaling What would happen if the UK withdrew from the European Court of Human Rights whimbrel whisky Whistleblowing WHO who is JIH whole gene sequencing whole life orders whorship Wikileaked cable Wikileaks wiklleaks Wild Law wildlife Wildlife and Countryside Act will William Hague William Marbury wills wind farms wind turbine Winterbourne View witchcraft withdrawal of treatment wolves women's rights Woolas worboys Workers working time directive wrongful birth wrongful conception wrongful life WTO wuhan X AND OTHERS v. AUSTRIA - 19010/07 - HEJUD [2013] ECHR 148 X Factor XX v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ 742 X Y and Z v UK Yemshaw Yildirim v Turkey Your freedom website YouTube yukos Yuval Noah Hariri Zakir Naik Zanu-PF Zero Hours Contracts ZH (Tanzania) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Zimbabwe Zimbabwe farm invasions ZN (Afghanistan) (FC) and others ZZ [2015] CSIH 29 [2015] CSOH 168 £750


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