Archive for May 4th, 2010

A compilation of captioned pics during the election campaign.. a story of our times in pictures through the eye of a mind made febrile  by Rioja.

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Judge rejects ‘irrational’ idea that Christianity deserves special protection from law

The Times reports: Christianity deserves no protection in law above other faiths and to do so would be “irrational, divisive, capricious and arbitrary”, a senior judge said yesterday. In the latest clash between the judiciary and Christian believers Lord Justice Laws said that laws could not be used to protect one religion above another…… To give one religion legal protection over any other, “however long its tradition, however rich its culture, is deeply unprincipled”, the judge said. It would give legal force to a subjective opinion and would lead to a “theocracy”.

Lord Justice Laws said: “We do not live in a society where all the people share uniform religious beliefs. The precepts of any one religion — any belief system — cannot, by force of their religious origins, sound any louder in the general law than the precepts of any other. If they did, those out in the cold would be less than citizens and our constitution would be on the way to a theocracy, which is of necessity autocratic.”

Of perhaps greater interest are the remarks of former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey: “It is, of course, but a short step from the dismissal of a sincere Christian from employment to a religious bar to any employment by Christians. I believe that further judicial decisions are likely to end up at this point and this is why I believe it is necessary to intervene now.”

This rather emotive and ill thought out statement deserves little attention – but Lord Justice Laws felt that it needed to be addressed.  The Times noted: “Lord Justice Laws said that Lord Carey appeared to be arguing that the courts ought to be ready to uphold and defend Christian beliefs. But the judge drew a distinction “between the law’s protection of the right to hold and express a belief and the law’s protection of that belief’s substance or content”.

I agree.  I cannot see any justification whatsoever for allowing religious belief – which not all share, let alone share the same religious beliefs – to have any sway in the administration of our laws and while religion may once have played a part in providing a rationale or foundation for law, this is not the case today in an increasingly secular and multi-cultural Britain. The law may be imperfect but it at least has the merit of being imperfectly rational and based, largely, on identifiable and objectively determinable constructs.

Read the judgment: McFarlane v Relate Avon Limited [2010] EWCA Civ B1

Tribunal rejects financier’s £4m harassment claim

The Times: A high-flying financier who accused her boss of sexual harassment, bringing prostitutes to business meetings and trying to have her killed by Russian hitmen has had her £4 million compensation claim dismissed by an employment tribunal

How coroners have become the public voice of grieving relatives

Times: “The hearing for two soldiers killed in Afghanistan will provide some comfort for bereaved relatives. The comments by David Ridley, coroner at Wiltshire Coroners’ Court, come just two days after the assistant deputy coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon, David Masters, castigated US authorities’ failure to cooperate in an investigation into the “friendly fire” deaths of three British soldiers. Such criticisms have become almost commonplace in coroners’ inquests. Coroners were once low-profile members of the legal establishment who occasionally voiced concerns. Now they are becoming increasingly vocal, assuming responsibilities as if they were chairmen of public inquiries — often because there is no such inquiry.”

Modern politicians ‘as ego driven’ as the Romans

This short discussion between a professor of classics and Boris Johnson is rather good,

Terror suspects’ wives win European court ruling on state handouts

Times: Curbs on state handouts to wives of terrorist suspects were ruled illegal yesterday by European judges and may have to be relaxed. The European Court of Justice ruled that Britain was wrong to restrict social security payments to the wives of three men on a list of people with alleged links to al-Qaeda, the Taleban and Osama bin Laden.

John Bolch, Family Lore: Anatomy of a Divorce – Part 3: An Admission

Prof John Flood RATs: How Do Law Professors Grade Exams?

At this time of year the law school likes to put out a public information video so that students can understand and appreciate the trials of exam grading. Please watch and learn.

Blawg Review #262

Public Intellectual is the host this week

The White Rabbit has been hopping about London. I know this.  I had drinks with him t’other evening and most enjoyable it was. Shine Eye Gal. and Malbeck

Simon Myerson QC says VOTE – I couldn’t agree more…. he writes: “Vote. For two reasons. Firstly because, as aspiring barristers in a country where Parliament is sovereign, a certain interest in the makeup of the legislature is important.

Secondly, because the rule of law is a critical component of any civilized society. We cannot guarantee to get it right, but we can guarantee that everyone is treated equally. In this election, one party is standing which is not committed to the rule of law. The British National Party would not treat everybody in the same way under the law, and would write laws which discriminated between people on the basis of their race or colour. If you vote, the share of the vote which the BNP gets goes down (assuming you don’t vote for them of course). That, in turn, makes an important statement about how repellent fascism is…..”

Carl Gardner, author of the Head of Legal blog, writing on an issue of electoral law and the prospect that Labour Twitter Tzar, Kerry McCarthy who is standing as a a candidate again may have broken the law, says:   Kerry McCarthy is innocent!

The election will soon be over – and I shall return to more detailed legal analysis. I have enjoyed a month of doing my best to parody the absurdities of the campaign – but whoever comes to power this Friday, it will irritate a very significant part of the population and cuts are coming.

AND FINALLY… this excellent post from AlJahom…. do read it….

The first rule of tax club

Filed under: Bully State,WTF? — Al Jahom @ 9:12 am

… is you do not talk about tax club.

This, from Big Brother Watch is just breath-taking:

Fined for talking about tax

This morning the Daily Mail has covered a very worrying story about changes to the law which effectively make it a criminal act to dispense tax advice. The woman behind the story – Anne Redston, a Visiting Professor in tax law at King’s College London – has written the following blogpost exclusively for Big Brother Watch……

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