Centre for Law and ReligionCentre for Law and Religion


Comparative Law of Religion

This modular course is offered as an optional element of Cardiff University’s first degrees in Law. It cannot be studied independently. For information on undergraduate admission to the LL.B. click here.

The course runs for two semesters and counts for 30 credits towards the degree. Both second and final year students may take it, in many cases to supplement the more ‘mainstream’ subjects studied towards the goal of a Qualifying Law Degree. It is taught by fulltime Cardiff University staff who are also members of the Centre, with some assistance from other Centre members.

The course examines how society relates to the phenomenon of religion through the medium of law. It is not usually concerned with the internal rules and structures of particular traditions, but rather how both institutional and personal religion are accommodated by the legal world within which they exist. Students join the course from many perspectives, both supportive and critical of organised religion. The focus is on the law of England and Wales, but rules and models from other jurisdictions are compared whenever this will help to point up an English peculiarity or illustrate alternative possible approaches.

The course is assessed by means of a formal 3-hour examination. Its syllabus presently covers: the claims of religion on believers, historical development of the law of religion, the legal position of voluntary religious bodies, the establishment of religion by law, the place of the courts in religious disputes, religion in written constitutions and ‘concordat’-type agreements, direct public financing of religion, legal concessions to religious scruples, religion and the European Convention on Human Rights, discrimination law and religious bodies, religious provision of services to the public and the question of indirect funding, religious dialogue with government, religion and domestic relationships.

Augur Pearce



Authors: Norman Doe and Russell Sandberg

Last Updated: January 7, 2008