Religion & Belief: Current Legal Issues
The School’s Law Reform and Public Policy Research Group hosted a one-day workshop on Friday 13 September, bringing together academics, legal practitioners and third-party stakeholders to discuss and debate current legal issues relating to religion and belief. The delegates included: academics from Bangor, Cardiff, Strathclyde, Glasgow and Caledonian Universities; legal practitioners, both from private practice and law centres; as well as representatives from religion and belief groups.
Professor Nicole Busby (Strathclyde University) opened the workshop with a presentation to the group on the case of Lee v Ashers Baking Company Limited, engaging the group in discussion on the Supreme Court’s decision and the likely outcome of Mr Lee’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Dr Alison Mawhinney (Bangor University) then presented to the group on the current legal provisions in Scotland, England & Wales permitting pupils to opt out of religious education and worship in schools, inviting discussion on the Welsh Government’s proposals for reform in this area.
A presentation by Dr Catriona Cannon (University of Glasgow) followed, which reported, and invited discussion on, the results of an empirical study in to the role of ‘ethos’ in a religious or faith-inspired organisation. In the afternoon session, Frank Cranmer (Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University and St Chad’s College, Durham) presented to the group on recent decisions of the courts and tribunals in the field of religion or belief, which lead to discussion among the group on issues relating to the manifestation of religion in the workplace and conscientious objection in medical care. Felicity Belton (University of Glasgow) delivered the final presentation of the day, speaking to the group and leading discussion on, belief marriages in Scotland.
The workshop was a welcome opportunity to share and exchange perspectives and experiences on topical legal issues relating to religion and belief.