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Unique legal initiative to bring religious groups closer to discuss religious and state law

07 December 2007

Under strict embargo

Not for publication or broadcast before 00.01am, 7 December 2007

A research centre at Cardiff Law School launches a new initiative today (Friday 7 December 2007), bringing legal advisers to the UK’s main faith communities together for the first time.

Amid growing debate surrounding the use of religious symbols in public and wider discussions about impartiality and religious dress, the inaugural meeting of the Interfaith Legal Advisers Network at Cardiff University will bring together representatives from a wide range of religious groups. They will share experiences and address contemporary themes at the interface between religious law and state law.

The unique Network is the first in a series of special events to mark the 10th anniversary of the Centre for Law and Religion. Its discussions will be ongoing, providing members with a greater understanding of their respective religious legal systems and the common legal issues they face. It is hoped that the network will contribute to greater social cohesion.

Professor Norman Doe, Director of the Centre of Law and Religion at Cardiff Law School said: "The establishment of the Network is particularly timely given the large number of recent high profile court cases involving religion, including cases concerning religious dress, sacred animals, and faith schools."

Representatives invited to the inaugural meeting will include advisers to the Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist Muslim, Catholic, Methodist, Church of England, Church of Scotland, Church in Wales, Quaker and Mormon faiths. Three leading barristers in the field will also be participating: Samantha Knights, author of Freedom of Religion, Minorities and the Law, Neil Addison, author of Religious Discrimination and Hatred Law, and Mark Hill, Honorary Professor at Cardiff Law School and author of Ecclesiastical Law.

As well as a roundtable discussion, Frank Cranmer, Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre and Secretary of the Churches Main Committee (formerly Clerk of Bills, House of Commons) will present on recent developments in the field and Professor Peter Luxton, Cardiff Law School and author of The Law of Charities will give a presentation on the new Charities Act 2006 and how it impacts on religion.

The Interfaith Legal Advisers Network will meet annually at Cardiff Law School.


Notes to Editors:

1. Cardiff Law School is at the forefront of vocational legal education in Britain, it being one of only seven approved institutions in Britain to offer both solicitor training, through the Legal Practice Course, and barrister training, through the Bar Vocational Course. The School pioneered integrated law and language degree schemes in the 1980s.

The facilities of the School’s library have been assessed as "outstanding" by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The library has over 75,000 volumes, over 300 journals and law reports and a stock expenditure in excess of £200,000 per annum (well over twice the median for UK Law Schools). This represents one of the largest collections of law books outside Oxford, Cambridge and London. The School is also the founder and editor of The Journal of Law and Society, which is recognised as the most prestigious English language journal dealing with the operation of law in society.

Visit the Law School website at:

2. Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, the University today combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities.

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Further Information:

For further information and interviews please contact:

Lowri Jones

Public Relations

Cardiff University

Tel: 029 2087 0995