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The Law of Organized Religions. Between Establishment and Secularism

Author: Julian Rivers
Isbn: 978-0-19-922610-8
Pages: 416
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Place: Oxford
Published/Year: 2010
Category: n\a


This book studies the law of England and Wales as it applies to organized religions. It starts with the legal history of the topic from Roman times to the present day. Current legal arrangements can only be understood against this changing background. In the last decade, a substantial body of international and European human rights law relating to religious associations has also emerged by which domestic law must be evaluated. The human rights dimension of the subject is noted throughout the rest of the work. The legal constitution of religious bodies in English law is clarified, and the enforceable rights of members enumerated. This requires somewhat fuller discussion of problems around property division on schism and the legal position of religious tribunals. The special legal status of ministers of religion in terms both of the nature of the employment relationship and other legal privileges receives separate treatment. The use that English law makes of categories of public religion to control access to privilege is then highlighted. This includes, but is not limited to, charitable status. A range of legally regulated collective rites is covered before the book engages in a detailed exposition of the law relating to chaplaincies, faith schools and faith-based welfare. Forms of access to public discourse by way of representation in the House of Lords, new multi-faith forums and religious broadcasting are also discussed. The final chapter searches for the underlying constitutional principles at stake. It clarifies and rejects establishment and secularism as inadequate models, instead locating the law between the two. The law largely reflects the values of the autonomy of organized religions and state neutrality and, in the face of some countervailing tendencies noted throughout the book, should continue to do so.

Table of contents

1: The Changing Law of Church and State
2: The Human Rights of Religious Associations
3: The Constitution of Religious Bodies
4: Ministers of Religion
5: Public Religion
6: Regulated Rites
7: Chaplaincies
8: Faith Schools
9: Faith-based Welfare
10: Access to Public Discourse
11: In Search of Principle

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