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
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.