21 January 2013 by

Scientologist loses bid to marry in her own church

24-year-old Louisa Hodkin wants to marry her fiancé, a fellow Scientologist, in a Church of Scientology chapel in central London. She is currently prevented from doing so because the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages has refused to register the chapel for the solemnisation of marriages under the 1855 Places of Worship Registration Act because it is not “a place of religious worship”. This issue was determined in 1970 by the Court of Appeal in the case of R. V Registrar General Ex p. Segerdal [1970] 2 Q.B. 697. In this case the Court ruled that another Scientology chapel was not a meeting place for religious worship because its services involved “instructions in the tenets of a philosophy concerned with man” and were not concerned with religious worship.

Hodkin is challenging the legality of the Registrar General’s refusal to register the London chapel, claiming that she is being discriminated against because of her religion. Her case has recently reached the High Court where Mr Justice Ouseley, concluding that he was bound by the decision in the 1970 Court of Appeal case, has backed the Registrar General and dismissed Hodkin’s case however adding that the issue ought to be analysed by the Supreme Court – the more senior Court in the UK.

This case will no doubt be watched with interest as Hodkin seeks to overcome a judgment that is now more than 40 years old.

For more information on the decision of the High Court or the case of Segerdal, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Bolt Burdon.

3 January 2013 by

2011 Census figures highlight risks to cohabiting couples, says Resolution

New figures from the UK Census have revealed that more and more couples are living together without being married. Resolution, which represents 6,500 family law professionals in England and Wales, believes the figures once again highlight the urgent need to give legal rights to millions of couples in England and Wales.

4 January 2013 by

What’s new for commercial property in 2013?

As the government continues to look for ways to stimulate the economy and promote growth, the planning system remains a focal point for commercial property in 2013, with bills passing through Parliament and judicial review (with its effect on the planning process) coming under the spotlight.

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