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The First Ten Years

Apr 2008

It is not unusual for the Ecclesiastical Law Journal, edited by Mark Hill and published by Cambridge University Press, to include many contributions by members of the Centre. However, the May edition of the journal not only includes several contributions from Centre members but also includes a piece on the Centre itself. Written by the Director of the Centre, Norman Doe, the eleven-page report entitled 'The First Ten Years of the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University' provides an expansive summary of the work of the Centre. Also included is a report of the first meeting of the Interfaith Legal Advisers Network, which was hosted by the Centre in December 2007.

The edition also includes substantial pieces by Centre Members. In 'Necessary to Salvation? The Canon Law of the Church of England and the Interpretation of Scripture', Frank Cranmer and Tom Heffer elucidate that whilst the canon law of the Church of England begins from the assumption that scripture contains ‘all things necessary to salvation’ , the law makes little attempt to lay down rules for the way in which scripture should be interpreted. The authors attribute this reticence to the fact that, historically, adherents of the Church of England have been inclined to disagree about the nature both of ecclesiastical and of scriptural authority; and one of the functions of the Church's canon law has therefore been to hold together a wide spectrum of theological opinions. They contend that this causes strains within the wider Anglican Communion and may lead to difficulties of mutual comprehension in ecumenical conversations.

Russell Sandberg explores a recent development in Northern Ireland in his piece 'Gods and Services: Religious Groups and Sexual Orientation Discrimination'. Noting that exemptions for religious groups from laws prohibiting discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation have proved particularly controversial, particularly in the context of the extension to prohibit discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services, he contends that a recent judicial review of the corresponding Northern Ireland regulations, which were enacted prior to the British regulations, may be illuminating. The edition also includes a Parliamentary Report from Frank Cranmer as well as book reviews and casenotes provided by Centre Members.