Faith Bulletin - June 2019

Welcome to the June edition of the Stone King Faith Bulletin 2019. In this edition we have a round up of the Catholic Charity Conference including an invitation to the launch of a new initiative - the National Association of Religious Orders in Education. We consider changes to the immigration rules around sponsorship under Tier 5, a recent property case involving rights of reverter in relation to a school, an employment case about religious discrimination in the workplace and other developments of interest to faith organisations.

Tim Rutherford

Catholic Charity Conference

Key themes from the day

The Catholic Charity Conference took place earlier this month. As always, the event was well attended and covered some interesting topics. The morning session focused on the theme of “Working Together”. Roisin Maguire, Director of the English schools office for the Christian Brothers, explained to the conference the collaborative work of various Religious Orders and the setting up of a new National Association of Religious Orders in education who are Trustees or Founders of schools and colleges. Stephen Ravenscroft outlined how this might work in England and Wales under civil law and considered appropriate structures and lay management. Canon Law implications were also considered.

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Immigration Issues - Sponsorship under Tier 5 Religious Workers

On 10 January changes were made to the Immigration Rules which mean that organisations can no longer sponsor a migrant in the Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Religious worker category (under 245ZN of the Immigration Rules) to fill the role of a Minister of Religion. This category was often used for Priests to come to the UK for short periods to cover temporary periods of absences. This route is also relied upon by congregations who wish for Nuns to come to the UK on short term basis.

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Back to School: Rights of Reverter

The recent case of Rittson-Thomas v Oxfordshire County Council underlines the challenges and necessity of specific legal expertise when dealing with property transactions in the charity, education and faith sectors.

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Balancing the rights of employers and employees in cases of religious discrimination in the workplace

The balance between the rights of employers and employees in matters of religious observance seems to have shifted slightly in favour of employers as a result of the Supreme Court decision in Lee v Ashers Baking Co Limited [2018]. This was followed in the recent case of Gan Menachem Hendon Ltd v De Groen [2019].

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Security at places of worship

The Home Office has announced a new round of funding through The Places of Worship Protective Security Scheme. Applicants will be able to apply for funding for additional protection and security measures. The scheme will run into a fourth year and up to £1.6 million will be available. Applications can be submitted from July 2019. Further details can be found here.

Anglican Church – IICSA publishes two case studies as part of ongoing inquiry

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published two case studies as part of an ongoing investigation into child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church. The recommendations include that the Church of England should introduce appropriate guidance for safeguarding in a religious community; the list of roles covered by the offence of "abuse of position of trust" should be extended to include the clergy; and there should be sanctions within the Church of England for failing to comply with safeguarding procedures.

Child protection in religious settings

The IICSA has announced its new investigation into child protection in religious organisations and settings in England and Wales. The investigation will cover: religious settings such as mosques, synagogues, churches and temples; places of faith tuition; and youth groups and camps. Organisations and individuals are being invited to apply for core participant status.

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