Monday, December 31, 2007

I am very excited to anounce this site...

It's been in the works for more than half a year. I have already mentioned it twice. It's about this fictional character that my friend and I created which is greatly inspired by the people around us. I hope you enjoy the blog as much as we did creating it. If you enjoy the blog feel free to link to it. As a matter of fact, we will appreciate it immensely if you did. Word of mouth goes a long way!

We are planning on writing two posts each week, save for exam time of course. Again, I hope you like the site as I have tried to absorb all the criticism I have received from the provisional Therman Merman posts and have applied them to the new and improved Dewey Merman!

Click Here for the site!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A post for a good cause...

The Oman Web Awards 2007 is coming up, read what Blue_Chi has written about the Oman Web Awards 2006 and the Oman Web Awards 2005.

I hope this helps.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A new series of posts...

If you recall correctly, I have once mentioned a blog I was working on with a friend about a fictitious character who was inspired by someone I knew personally. Well there were some hiccups along the way and some "personal" difficulties that made the new blog project come to a screeching halt. But worry not, I have decided to instead, post the initial already made posts here as a new series in my blog I'd like to call, The Diaries of Therman Merman. I hope you enjoy them. The continuation of this project will be dependant on how well it is received by you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did when I wrote them.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A post from a city called Crewe...

How did i get here? Why? Where is it located exactly? ... Well, let me first tell you the trigger that caused the series of events that ultimately led me to Crewe.

I woke up to the sound of my mobile ringing louder than it ever did. I Extended my arm and hit the answer button. "hello?" i said almost incomprehensibly. "hey Mo, are you still asleep?"
"Yes i was ..."
"i see... How are you?"
"i'm doing fine thanks"
"you are coming to us in london like your father said right?"
"sure, yes... It's just that i ruined my sleeping schedule and would bother my brother (who sleeps in the same room as me in the hotel in london). Why don't i just meet you guys in heathrow airport
? I can just use the heathrow express train..."
"no, your dad wants you here... And don't worry about your brother he does not(have "nafs 5aysah") an attitude or is quickly irritable as he doesnt mind you using the tv ir you making any noise while he's asleep (clearly calling me a guy with nafs 5aysah as i have complained to her once about him switchin on the tv on al jazeera while i was asleep once... I'm a light sleeper... And would rather not sleep while subconsciously listening to reports about people dying in the middle east) alright?"
i was wide awake now, shocked and a little scarred. I fell silent for a couple of seconds then simply said, "inshallah"
then she hung up.

apparently i have a nafs 5aysah... She knows me best, as they say. Needless to say, i couldn't get what she said out of my mind. I know I shouldnt make a big deal out of this but i simply couldn't think of anything else for the whole day.

I went to the train station with my bags. Got on to the train and started reading my novel. Next thing i hear was the train stewardess asking me where i was heading. "to london paddington" i said immediatly. She replied, "no you're not."
"i'm not?" i said hesitantly. "no you have to take the mornin train from Crewe".
"Crewe... Where is that?"
"it's near manchester."
then she left. I took the wrong train as clearly, my mind was pre-occupied with other things.

i called 118118 as soon as i reached Crewe and got the # to a taxi company. Called for a cab and headed to the exit. I waited for a few min while i looked around. I instantly spotted a big red sign that says "Royal Hotel". So i instinctively worked towards it (and ignored the taxi company's missed cal)l.

and there you have it. I am writing this post using my mobile in my 25 pound a night room in royal hotel.

I am catchin a train from here at 6 am to london eustone then change to london paddington.

i will add a picture of my room when/if i reach home safely.

and also if something happens to me i want my preordered copy of halo 3 to be donated to someone who will appreciate it as much as i would.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

My never ending summer in Qatar...

Here is how my never ending summer in the land where time stands still (except if you're in traffic of course, in which case time goes twice as fast just so that you end up late) develops. So check this out, the other day I didn't go to sleep. You see I like to do productive things in my free time so instead of sleeping at night like everyone else... I instead, choose not to. And yes, that is as close as I got this summer to a productive activity. Impressive, I know. so anyway, at around 6am I thought i would just leave the house and go to Costa Coffee because my allergy from the damn cat that likes to sit in the front porch 24/7 is getting much worse these past few days and plus I wanted to finish this novel I started readin. I put my clothes on, opened the front door and I saw the most horrific thing you can imagine. There was... you know what? I will let the picture I took with my mobile do the talking.






The slut had kittens...

And guess where they set up base? exactly outside the front door. My allergy was getting worse because of the damn extra kittens.
So after the food poisoning I now cannot sit in the living room downstairs with my family for very long b/c that's when the cat allergy kicks in thanks to the slut and her kittens leaning on the front door from outside... I bet the kitten are bastards too. I see no father coming to check up on them.

Poor bastards are going to get bullied in highschool. Especially the black one... I could kick them off the front porch... but they look so young and helpless so I just just decided to sacrifice my health at least till they go to college or something. The black one looks like a scholar. And the kitten taking a peak from behind the wall (upper left hand corner of the pic) she'll end up a slut like her mom... I can feel it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wow...

My last post got a record number of ZERO comments. I am so glad I made a big enough dent in the blogosphere to reach this record number of comments. Man I am so pumped to write bigger, better and badder posts now that I got this record number of comments. I mean, wow. Zero.

I guess I shouldn't expect anyone to comment straight away. It has only been a day since I published the last post. I haven't updated this blog for so long so it's only natural that the actual visitor who used to log in, kind of realised the delusional state he was in and snapped out of his dementia. Because surely, anyone who enjoys my ramblings clearly needs to go to psychotherapy. And I would advice sooner rather than later too. Trust me, I know what my ramblings could lead to.

So, now that I have insulted my last visitor away from ever visiting this blog, I will commence to again, assure ... well, myself now... that I will continue posting. And regularly. Also, I ordered Getting Things Done as per my friend's recommendation, thus it can only mean even more posts because when I think productivity, I think useless blog.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My battle with boredom...

I have been battling with boredom for what seems like forever now. I open my eyes every morning and hear my inner voice say in an excited tone, "Neat-o, you're up! Boy do I have a great schedule for you today." Apparently, my inner voice is one that belongs to an American sitcom kid character from the 70s. Think Bobby Brady from the Brady Bunch "Do you want to hear it?" the voice continues. "Alright. Fir... st .... he... hell!...hello?... teh..con..nection...s.....bad...can't..." then silence. The line is dead. I try to summon my inner voice again but I get the all too familiar machine asking me to record my message after the *BEEP*. I usually hang up after the beep but I thought what the hell. "umm hello? inner voice? I know you're there... Tell me what's on my schedule today? what am I suppose to do first? your voice skipped and I didnt quite catch any of the last part, sir. I am sure a 21 yr old man like myself has plenty to do in a summer as wonderful as this one. I have to admit I am getting the impression that you staged the bad connection scenario because you have no schedule for me. And also, because we are not really on a phone line. You are merely but a figment of my imagination. Anyway, if that is the case, I am afraid you will have to pay... very neato-ly. Call me as soon as u get this." Then I mentally hang up. I thought if I said something that ridiculed his word choices on the answering machine whilst threatening him it will have all the more impact. But sadly the only person ridiculed by my neato word plug was myself.

I get up from bed and instinctively head to the bathroom to brush my teeth, wash my face then do my morning push-ups. I then commence to take a quick shower and wait for my inner voice to reply to my message. 15 minutes after my shower and still no call or txt message. "It looks like the only thing I can do today is hang out with my friends... AGAIN" I think to myself. "Oh but wait, I forgot about the unbelievable traffic outside." "You know what!? I will not go out" I state out loud. "I will simply stay in today and read my novel."

----------------------

This has been more or less what I've been doing every day for the past 2 months. If you think that this post is a bit weird well, then you are right! it is. Do you know why though? it's because today is a weird day. Check this out. I decide to read my novel this morning in Starbucks. Nothing weird about that. After ordering my latte and waiting for my drink to be done however, this philipino staff member, whom I can only nicely describe as gay with a high pitched voice, as he was walking passed me from behind said, out of the blue, "you shouldn't eat lots of chicken, sir". I swear I am not making this up. This is weird because I didn't order chicken, hell I don't think starbucks served chicken nor am I remotely fat. I turned around and he was cleaning the table so I thought he must've been talking to someone else. But he wasn't. Apparently when he realised that I didnt fathom what he said he came to me, pointed at my arms and said "this is because you eat lots of chicken"... I thought this is not helpful is he speaking metaphorically or something? is my arms suppose to symbolise the arms that's crushing chickens due to the bird flu virus? then I looked down at my arms and it all made sense. He was referring to the spots on my arms, or should I say pimples or zits.
Nothing major or worth all this hassle but damn couldn't he think of a better opening to this conversation other than "don't eat lots of chicken, sir"? I mean I can think of a few myself. Like, here is one, how about he approaches me from the front and say "Hello"? Or better yet, instead of approaching me he could mind his freaking business and just not approach me!!?

In conclusion, I would like to apologise to my reader(s) for the lack of new posts that was caused by my boredom over-taking my very being and soul. I have good news though. I am back. And with a vengeance. I will be posting regularly and we can beat the wretched boredom together. Whose with me!?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Volunteer work...

I have always wanted to do some volunteer work. Today, I can say, I have always considered to do some more volunteer work.

I volunteered to help out in a local homeless shelter with a couple of friends. I kept asking my friends what it was like (since they did it a few times before) before we reached the shelter and they said "oh don't worry, we'll probably only clean the kitchen or something like that". And I thought to myself, as long as there is no cooking involved I am perfectly happy with that. I also asked them not to abandon me as I am pretty new to this volunteering world and they laughed but when they realised i was serious, hesitantly nodded.

We walked to a new part of Cardiff that I have never seen before. We took a turn into this narrow alleyway and one of my friends said there it is as she was pointing at a building that had a police van parked in front of it. As soon as I saw it I said out loud "that's not a good sign". They said nothing in response and continued walking. We walked in to the front yard of the shelter and it was like a big empty parking area with different groups of homeless people sitting around in different areas. It was like the forgotton land, the neglected part of society, the social dustbin of Cardiff.

Incomplete --- Doesn't look like I will finish writing this post anytime soon so I will post it in an incomplete fashion as opposed to not posting anything at all.

I really should get "Getting Things Done" like Blue Chi recommended

Monday, June 04, 2007

I will always be successful in my professional career

Authority you ask? I will not only give an authority ... I will give you a prospective one. Some might even say it is "the" authority when it comes to this type of situation. Here it is:


That's right. It's the all mighty power of the fortune cookie. I received this today from the local chinese restaurant I go to. The woman that works there felt sorry for me and so offered me a fortune cookie to cheer me up. And it sure did.

As you have probably deduced from the last two paragraphs, I have lost my mind due to my one month revision time spent in solitude. I am going crazy in here and in desperate need of stress-free living (sounds like a detergent commercial huh?) again. It will all be over tomorrow. I can see the light at the end of the cave (referring to the exams as a cave and not tunnel cuz that symbolises life).

Wish me luck, or you know what? I do not need your wishes! I have my fortune cookie and that is more than enough to satisfy my insecurities relating to exams, my future career, my life, social life, family relations, political affinities, diet concerns, and so on and so forth.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an exam to revise for and fail in.

Good Day!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Voluntary Religion in England & Wales

Voluntary religious rules & structures:

  • Davies v Presbyterian Church of Wales [1986] 1 WLR 323:

    D, a minister, asserts that he had been employed by the church under a contract service and alleged he had been unfairly dismissed.
    Held: HL agreed with CA and decided it was not a contract of employment. However, it was possible for a person carrying out spiritual duties to be under a contract of employment NOT in the present case though. Reasons were b/c D's duties were dictated by his conscience not by a contract.

Charity law and reform:

  • Barralet v A-G. [1980]:

    Involved the issue of whether a secular association, which dealt with exposing superficial beleifs and discuss ethics/morality, is considered be a religious charity.
    Held: Religion was concerned with man's relationship with God, ethics with man's relationship with man. "the main element of religion were belief in and worship of God..." Not a religious charity.

Court's willingness to intervene (remedies in contract, trust and tort):

  • Forbes v Eden (1867)
    A court of law will not interfere with the rules of a voluntary addociation unless to protect some civil right or interest which is said to be infringed by their operation.

  • Davies v Presbyterian Church of Wales (mentioned above).

  • Blake v Associated Newspapers [2003] EWHC 1960:
    Blake was made a bishop. Daily Newspaper claimed he was "sham/pretend bishop". He sued DM for Defamation. Court decided that the only way is to find out if he was really a bishop. Court declined to decide on that issue though.

Court's willingness to intervene (employment remedies):

  • Percy v Church of Scotland of National Mission [2006]:

    D was a female minister who was accused of sexual irregularities which she might have done. She resigned but claims she only did so b/c of fear of disciplinary punishment.

    Usually the obligations between church and minister is not a legally-binding relationship. But not always without any legal effect.

    Held: she was under a contract to do specific things highlighted in the terms and conditions therefore she was under a contract to execute work

    "The nature of the mutual obligations [of church and minister], their breadth and looseness, and the circumstances in which they were undertaken, point away from a legally-binding relationship. But this principle... cannot be carried into arrangements which on their face are to be expected to give rise to legally-binding obligations... It is time to recognise that employment arrangements between a church and its ministers should not lightly be taken as intended to have no legal effect."

Court's willingness to intervene (public law remedies):

  • R v Chief Rabbi ex p. Wachmann [1992]:

    W was a Rabbi in a jewish congregation which was associated with a bigger jewish association. He was having sexual intercourse with anumber of the girls working with him in the synagogue. Was dismissed after being exposed.

    Held: Judicial review not available for him. If he wants to fight decision he must do so in the realm of civil contract law.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Intellectual Property Copyright Overview...

Requires Originality:

  • Literary
  • Dramatic
  • Musical
  • Artistic

Literary Works (excluding databases and computer programs):

  • University of London Press v Tutorial Press [1916]:

    Student stole examinations paper and copied questions then returned papers. Argued there were no copyright in the papers.
    Held: Papers set by examiners were "literary works" under CA 1911.

  • Anacon v Environmental Research [1994]:

    An electrical circuit diagram can be put in a list of connections.
    Held: Like a foreign language. It is a literary work.


Dramatic Works (e.g. scripted plays):

  • *Norowzian v Arks (No.2) CA [2000]:

    N produced film called 'Joy'. Used film technique 'jump cutting'.
    D, Arks, produced a film called "Anticipation" which was used as an adverting by Guinness.
    N claimed infringement of "Joy", which he maintained was a dramatic work.

    HELD:
    Trial judge held "Joy" was not a dramatic work for purposes of CDPA 1988.
    Court of Appeal disagreed, held it was a dramatic work. "Joy" was a dramatic work b/c it was capable of being performed before an audience.
    Features of "Joy" such as its rhythm, pace and movement, use of 'jump-cutting' were not themselves subject to copyright protection.
    After expert choreographer gave evidence that there had been no copying of a substantial part of Joy NO INFRINGEMENT.

  • Green v Broadcasting Corp of New Zealand:

    P creator of a T.V. show in the U.K. entitled "opportunity knocks". The show was a talent contest. Claimed copyright on scripts and Dramatic format of the show.

    Held: Dramatic format of a television show had to have some certainty in its subject matter to be entitled to copyright protected. Also D used idea and not expression of idea.


Musical Works (S.3(1) CDPA 1988):

  • Includes arrangements, re-arrangements, orchestration etc.

  • Hyperion Records v Dr Sawkins [2005]:

    Sawkins wrote new performing editions of some of Lalande's famous baroque musical compositions. He added figured bass and also corrected some notes.

    Although 'Musical Work' is not defined in the CDPA 1988, it cannot be restricted only to actual notes.

    Held: in favour of Sawkins. Justification = songs could not be played without his work on them.


CDPA 1988 S 3(2) and (3):

  • "Need for recording of Literary, Dramatic, and Musical Works."
  • Electronic recording suffices.
  • What if someone other than author records it?

    Walter v Lane [1900]:
    Verbatim speech made. Journalist made notes of it. Then wrote an article from the notes he made.
    Held: Journalist owns copyright on the article constructing most of the speech and person who made the speech cannot stop him from publishing it as it is made from his notes.



Artistic Works (S4 CDPA 1988):

  • S 4(1):
    "Includes Graphic works, photographs, sculptures or collages irrespective of artistic quality."
  • Graphic works are extensively defined in S 4(2).
  • Hi-Tech Autoparts Ltd v Towergate Two Ltd [2002]:

    Metal plates used to make rubber mats were held to be engraving.

  • S 4(2) "Sculptures":
  • Wham-O v Lincoln [1985]:
    Mould for a Frisbee was held to be a sculpture.
  • J & S Davis (holdings) Ltd v Wright Health Group Ltd:
    Model for dental impression trays are not sculptures.
  • Metic v Maughan [1997]:
    Industrial processes cannot result in a sculpture. No accurate definition of sculptures exists but court suggests a workable definition could be "a three-dimensional work made by an artists hand."

Artistic Craftsmanship (Must have artistic quality!):

  • Hensher v Restawhile (HL) [1976]:
    HL held: for a work to be of artistic craftsmanship it must have some artistic quality.


    Contrast with...
  • Merlet v Mothercare plc [1986]:
    A baby cape was held not to be a work of artistic craftsmanship.

    Justification = the baby cape is a work of craftsmanship only not artistic craftsmanship b/c there was no aesthetic appeal it was purely a functional design.

Works Requiring a (mechanical) act of creation:

  • Film - S 5B CDPA 1988
  • Norowzian v Arks (No1) [1988]: Mentioned above.
  • Film Copyright protects the actual signal on which the film is recorded on.
  • The soundtrack in a film can also be protected as a sound recording.

  • Sound Recording - S 5A

  • Broadcasts - S6:
  • Internet 'webcasts' are only protected by broadcasts if they are broadcasted live and people cannot stream it whenever they want.

  • Published Editions (typographical arrangements) - S.8:
  • The Newspaper Licensing Agency Ltd v Marks & Spencer PLC [2001]:

    It was suggested that the skill and labour used in the creation of typographical arrangements can only be expressed in nothing less than a page.

  • Copies in Copies?
  • Sound recordings, films, published editions could not be proteced by copyright if it is a copy of an earlier (recording/film/edition). Authority CDPA relevant sections mentioned on each category above.








Friday, May 04, 2007

Functions of Criminal Law and The Principle of Legality

Relationship between morality and law:

  • Devlin - Criminal Law should enforce central core of morality.

  • Mills - immorality alone is insufficient.

Sources of Criminal Law:

  • Two primary sources: common law and legislation.

The Principle of Legality:

  • 'No one shall be guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence at the time when it was commited. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • No retrospective legislation.


Principle of Legality and Common Law:

  • Shaw v DPP [1962]:
    D's published a "ladies directory" containing contact details of prostitutes.
    They were convicted of conspiracy to corrupt public morals contrary to the Obscene Publications Act 1956.

  • Ratio of Shaw v DPP:
    (a) The courts, as 'moral guardians', can make law!
    OR
    (b) The courts can look at previous authorities, 'find law' and apply it to new circumstances.

  • Knuller v DPP [1973]:
    D's published a magazine with advertisements for homosexual contacts.
    Convicted of conspiracy to corrupt public morals and conspiracy to outrage public decency.

Common Law Abolition of the Marital Exemption to Rape:

  • R v R [1992]:
    D attempted to have sexual intercourse with his estranged wife without her consent.
    HL held: The marital rape exemption was no longer justified because of the changed status of women in marriage.

  • CR v The United Kingdom [1996]:
    Euopean Court of Human Rights: CR convicted of attempted rape of his wife.

    "ECHR Article 7 cannot ... outlaw the gradual clarification of the rules of criminal liability through judicial interpretation from case to case, provided that the resultant development is consistent witht he essence of the offence and could reasonably be foreseen."

Reform: Codification and the Law Commission:

  • Law Commission (1989) 'The Report and Draft Criminal Code Bill for England and Wales' Law Com No. 177:

    Too vast. Hard to enact.
  • Law Commission (1993) 'Legislating the Criminal Code: Offences Against the Person and General Principles' Law Com No 218:

    Legislating ideas most in need for reform.
  • Law Commission Consultation Paper (2006) 'A New Homicide Act for England and Wales?' LCCP 177:

    Also deals with general principles of criminal law.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Voluntary Religion and the Courts

Examples of disputes:

  • is a member 'in good standing'?
  • Has a rite been correctly administered? Is a marriage religiously valid?
  • should an office-bearer be removed?

Remedies sought:

  • Private law (contract and trust).
  • Public law (judicial review)
  • Private law (tort)
  • Family law (marriage validity)
  • Employment law (unfair dismissal, discrimination)

Contract and trust

  • leading case:

    Forbes v Eden (1867):
    "Save for the due disposal and administration of property, there is no authority in the Courts either of England or Scotland to take cognizance of the rules of a voluntary society entered into merely for the regulation of its own affairs." per Lord Cranworth

  • Internal rules affecing material interests:

    Davis v Presbyterian Church of Wales (1986):
    D was appointed as a minister in Church of Wales. Co W was accused of unfairly dismissing him.
    "The law imposes on the Church a duty to administer its property in accordance with the provisions of the book of rules." per Lord Templeman.

  • A Marriage case:

    Lindo v Belisario (1795):
    Sir William Scott was forced to look at jewish law ot determine whether or not it was a valid marriage. Held: it was not a valid jewish marriage.
    N.B. Under Marriage Act 1966 all except Jews and Quakers were required to get married the same way as Christians.

Public law remedies:

  • Leading case:

    R v Chief Rabbi ex p. Wachmann (1992):
    W was a Rabbi appointed by jewish congregation which was associated with a bigger jewish association. He was having sexual intercourse with a number of girls working with him in the Synagogue.
    Judicial review not available in this case. If he wants to fight his dismissal he must do it with civil contract law.

    "Th court must inevitably be wary of entering so self-evidently sensitive an area, straying across the well-recognised divide betweenchurch and state." per Simon Brown J

  • Cases following Wachmann:

    R v Imam of Bury Park Mosque ex p. Sulaiman [1994]
    R v London Beth Din ex p. Bloom [1998]
    R v Provincial Court of the Church in Wales ex p. Williams (1998)
    In all of these cases, Wachmann was cited with approval.

    But contrast; R v Rabbinical Commission ex p. Cohen (1987; licencing of shochetim under Slaughterhouses Act 1974 Sch. 1) If it involves government statutes then government will act!

  • Criticism of Wachmann:

    (a) Suggests principled 'church/state' divide
    (b) Wrong to assume courts never rule on Jewish law [Lindo v Belisario]

  • Suggestions for change:

    Scottish Judicial Review-equivalent may extend to decisions of religious or sports bodies - if they act irregularly, oppressively or unfairly.

    HRA 1998 may assist? unlikely on cases so far.

  • A defamation case:

    Blake v Associated Newspapers Ltd. (2003):
    Blake was made a bishop. Daily Mail newspaper accused him of being a "sham/pretend bishop". He sued DM for defamation. Court decided hat the only way is to find out if he was really a bishop. The court was not able to define bishop.

Employment law:


  • An employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed by his employer. Employment Rights Act 1996, s.94(1)
  • In this Act 'contract of employment' means a contract of service or apprenticeship, whether express or implied, and (if it is express) whether oral or in writing. S. 230(2)
  • [It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a woman in relation to... dismissal] Sex discrimination Act 1975, s.6(2)
  • 'Employment' means employment under a contract of service or of apprenticeship or a contract personally to execte any work or labour. S.82(1)

Is a minister of religion employed?


  • By God?
  • Contradicting views:

    Rogers v Booth [1973]: "no intention to confer on one another enforceable rights and obligations?" per Sir Wilfred Greene MR.

    Scottish Insurance Commissioners v Curch of Scotland [1914]: "I think that the position of an assistant minister in these Churches is not that of a person who undertakes work defined by contract but of a person who holds an ecclesiastical office, and who performs the duties of that office subject to the control and direction of any particular master." per Lord Kinnear.

  • Further argument: agreement to contract out of courts' protection and submit exclusively to hierarchical jurisdiction? - but is it a free decision and does the law permit contracting-out?

  • A minister is not bound by a contract of service.

    President of the Methodist Conference v Parfitt [1983]
    "I have no hesitation in concluding that the relationship between a church and a minister is not apt [absent clear contrary intention] to be regulated by a contract of service." per Dillon LJ

  • But the relationship between a church and minister is a contract nonetheless.

    Daviesv Presbyterian Church of Wales [1986] (again!)
    "The law imposes on the Church a duty to administer its property in accordance with the provisions of the book of rules." per Lord Templeman

  • A contract to execute work.

    If 'office' is given a broad meaning, holding an office and being an employee are not inconsistent.

    Percy v C of S Board of National Mission [2005]:
    P was a female minister who was accused of sexual irregularities that she might have done. She resigned but claims she did so b/c of her fear of disciplinary behaviour.

    "The nature of the mutual obligations [of church and minister], their breadth and looseness, and the circumstances in which they were undertaken, point away from a legally-binding relationship. But this principle... cannot be carried into arrangements which on their face are to be expected to give rise to legally-binding obligations... It is time to recognise that employment arrangements between a church and its ministers should not lightly be taken as intended to have no legal effect."

Monday, April 30, 2007

Religion in Schools: Religious Education and Worship

Summary:

1. Religious Education:

  • ECHR, Art. 2: duty to respect right to religious education.
  • State law: Education Act 1996; School Standards and Framework Act 1998
  • Syllabus must reflect fact that religious traditions of Great Britain is mainly Christian.
  • Syllabus must take into account teaching and practices of other principal religions.
  • Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE): is appointed by Local Education Authority (LEA) and is composed of C of E and other representatives.
  • Parental right to access information concerning RE.
  • Parental right to withdraw children and send elsewhere.

2. Religious Worship:

  • There must be a daily act of collective worship in State Schools.
  • Act of worship must be wholly or mainly Christian in nature.
  • SACRE monitors provision of worship; it may even disapply this requirement to a particular student if appropriate.
  • Schemes for worship challengeable in courts for lack of Christian content.
    (R and D (1992 unreported): two mothers complained that religious education was inadequately provided in their sons primary school. Judge refused to consider aspect of case on the basis that the children already moved schools).
  • Each pupil must take part in the daily act of worship but parents may withdraw.

3. Religion and Discipline:

  • School uniform policy vs religious garb.

    Begum v Denbigh HS, Luton [2004] CA:

    B a 15 yr old Muslim girl who sought to wear Muslim shalwar kameeze (long tunic and baggy trousers). School decided that B could not enter the school unless she wore the prescribed school uniform; but she could not agree due to her religious beliefs. School refused her entry.
    She claimed this violated her ECHR Art 9 right to manifest her religion practice and observance. She sought mandatory order to admit damages.

    The case ultimately reaches the HL who conclude that there was no interference with B's Art. 9 right to manifest religion b/c:
    (a) B voluntarily chose that school.
    (b) There was no difficulty for B to attend another school.
    (c) There were other schools in the area were happy with jilbab.
    (d) The school went to "unusual lengths" to make its uniform policy.
    (e) Nicholls dissenting: Was not sure whether there was interference with B's Art. 9 right.
    (g) Hoffmann: schools do not have to have Human Rights textbooks at their elbow.

    And even if there had been interference with B's Art. 9(1) right, it was justifiable under Art. 9.2 b/c:
    (a) It was prescribed by law for the school to have authority to institute a uniform policy.
    (b) It was necessary in a democratic society.
    (c) B was not denied a right to education as there were other schools available.
    (d) The right to education is not a right to attend a particular school.

  • Corporal Punishment + religious conviction.

    R v SSE, ex p Williamson [2005] HL:
    Case involved Christian schools which sought to administer corporal correction on religious grounds.
    HL held this was unlawful. The SSFA 1998 amending EA 1996 s.548) provide that corporal punishment cannot be justified.

    The school argued decision was breach of Art. 9 ECHR or Art. 2(1). Held: Manifesting religious belied by the use of corporal punishment was not in the best interests of the child.

  • Teachers and religious observance.

    Ahmad v Inner London EA [1978]:
    A is a Muslim employed as a primary schoolteacher under a contract which required full-time service. Never mentioned to employer he has to attend prayers in Mosque every Friday then return to work. He refused an offer of employment on a four and half day basis and left his employment subsequently claiming unfair dismissal on the basis that his employer's refusal to allow him to be absent for 45 min every Friday.

    Tribunal dismissed claim. A appealed to CA which also dismissed his claim. He finally appealed to European Commission which again dismissed his appeal claiming it was manifestly ill-founded on the basis that the education authority gave consideration to A's religious freedom by offering part-time post and thus the contract must be fulfilled.

4. Religious Schools (usually voluntary-aided):

  • 22,000 state maintained schools in England; 7,000 have a religious charcter.
  • RE in religious schools may be in accordance with LEA syllabus or tenets religion.
  • Schools designated as religious schools; must satisfy legal criteria.
  • Religious schools may employ religious criteria for admission.



Monday, April 16, 2007

Legal definition of Religion

Meanings of Religion: A First Step:

(a) There is a practical legal relevance for a definition as it is used in a number of Statutes including:

  • Human Rights Act 1998, s.13: 'religious organisations'
  • Data Protection Act 1998, Sched. 4: body or association existing for 'religious purposes'.
  • Law od charities: 'advancement of religion'.

(b) The nature of religion: theism and faith: judicial approaches:

  • Religion is about relations between humans and God.
  • The definition of religion is an objective not a subjective matter
  • Religion involves faith and worship (intellect and action)

Re South Place Ethical Society, Barralet v AG [1980] 3 All ER

"It seems to me that two of the essential attributes of religion are faith and worship; faith in a god and worship of that god."

NOTE: Whilst a theistic element is essential, there appears to e no requirement that the religion has to be monotheistic: a White Paper on charities noted that Hinduism, a religion usually considered to be polytheistic, had charities registered by the Charity Commissioners.

(c) The role of worship:

  • Religion involves reverence to a supreme being.
  • The courts are reluctant to define religion with a high degree of percision.

Ecclesiastical Law:

(1) Religious perspectives:

Ecclesiastical law is law made by a church for itself:

Roman Catholic: 'Ecclesiastical law is distinguished according to its origin either as divine or as human law'; divine law consists of that set of 'norms... laid down by God' for the church and 'human law (purely ecclesiastical law) is either the result of legislation or custom' (Georg May: Roman Catholic).

(2) European perspectives:

Ecclesiastical law is te law of the State applicable to religious organisations (eg Spain: el derecho eclesiastico del estado; Germany: Staatskirchenrecht)

(3) Civil Law Perspectives: English Law:

'The term "ecclesiastical law"... means the law relating to any matter concerning the Church of England administered and enforced in any court'.

'The ecclesiastical law of England... is part of the general law of England - of the common law - in that wider sense which embraces all the ancient and approved customs of England which form Law' (Mackanocie v Lord Penzance (1991) 6 App Cas 424 at 446 per Lord Blackburn)

Problems:

  • Definitions are formulated without refernece to agreed definitional criteria.
  • Definitions which focus on enforcement do not distinguish between 'enforced' and 'enforceable'.
  • Definitins over concentrate on judicial enforcement.
  • In England, if ecclesiastical law is part of the law of the land the decisions of the courts of the Church of England should bind civil courts - but they do not.

Canon Law (Christian Churches: hierarchical and Episcopal (ie with bishops):

(1) narrow definitions:

'Canon law is principally concerned with the practical life of the Church'; 'it springs from the will of Christ, but its minute and detailed rles come from human agents... that is, the pope and the bishops' (ladislas Orsy: Roman Catholic).

(2) Wide definitions:

Canon law is 'so much of the law of England as is concerned with the regulation of affairs of the Church of England'.

(3) The subjects of canon law:

  • Ecclesiastical government (institutions, eg synods)
  • Ministry (rights and duties of ecclesiastical persons, eg bishops, clergy, laity)
  • Doctrine (church teaching) and liturgy (public worship).
  • Rites of the church (baptism, confirmation, eucharis, marriage, confession)
  • Church property and finance (acquisition, administration, disposal).

Jewish Law:

Jewish identity is shaped in part by halakhah (Jewish Law). This 'defines the broad sphere of religious observance and signficantly influences the norms and practices of communal governance, and its study [is[ a spiritual and intellectual experience' (Blindstein).

For Jews, the Torah (or 'the teaching', also 'the law') is the revealed will of God, received by Moses on Mount Sinai. The Talmud is the body of learning about the Torah.
The principal sources of Jewish Law are:

  • Codes
  • Commentaries
  • Responsa (responsum is reply to a religious-legal question)
  • Enactments (ie ordinances)
  • Custom

Islamic Law:

Islam - submission to Allah

Muslim - one who lives according to the will of Allah.

Shari'ah - lieterally: path leading to watering place: islamic Muhammaden law.

Sunnis (90%); Shi'ites (10%).

(1) Sources:

  • Qur'an: sacred book of divine revelation (via Gabriel) to Mohammed (PBuH) (570-632)
  • Sunna: Practice and statements of Mohammad (PBuH) (recorded in hadith, traditions).
  • Ijma: juristic consensus of scholars derived from juristic effort or ijtihad
  • Qiyas: analogical reasoning.

(2) The Schools and Science of Islamic Law:

  • Hanafi - ra'y (opinion) (founded by Hanifa: 700-767)
  • Maliki - dependence on Qur'an and Sunna (Malik: 710-795)
  • Shafi'i - develops understanding of the four sources (Al-Shafi'i: 767-820)
  • Hanbali - the strictest school (Hanbal:780-855)

(3) The Four Sciences of Islamic Law:

  • Prophetic tradition (hadith)
  • Qur'anic exegesis (tafsir)
  • Theology (kalam)
  • Law (fiqh)

(4) Subjects and Scope of Islamic Law:

  • relations with God (ibadat and the five pillars of Islam).
  • relations between humans (mu'amalat)
  • classes of acts: obligatory; desirable; indifferent; unobjectionable; prohibited.

(5) Classifications of Laws:

  • Penal Law
  • The Law of Transactions
  • Family Law
  • The Law of Succession
  • Procedure and Evidence

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Religion and Law: A Sociological Perspective

I. Religion, Socialisation and Individualisation

1. The Definition of Religion:

(a) Sociological definitions:

Sociologist commonly define religion as either substantive and/or functional.

Substantive definition: ideas that religion is a 'belief in spiritual things'. It is activities of the mind. For some definition is a subjective matter solely for the person involved.

Functional definition: religion is seen as a system of beliefs, acts and rituals referring to the sacred which binds people together into social groups; religion is necessary for society to satisfy its needs.

Each approach was subject to criticism and development. In short, religion concerns the sacred and supernatural, beliefs, practices, and morals.

(b) Legal definitions

The State in its law commonly uses the terms 'religion', 'religious organisation', 'religious purposes' and religious 'belief and practice'. However, THERE IS NO SINGLE DEFINITION OF RELIGION IN THE FORMAL (WRITTEN) LAW.

Judicial definitions are less elaborate than those of sociology, yet elements of both substantive and functional approaches surface, but not fully or conciously. Courts (eg) define religion objectovely as concerning 'relations with God': 'the two essential attributes of religion are faith and worship; faith in a god and worship of that god' (Barralet [1980]). Courts also claim to be 'perfectly impartial in matters of religion' (Carroll [1931] 1 KB 317). This may be contrasted with objective-functional tests in (eg) Australian law: religion is 'belief in a supernatural Being' and 'acceptance of canons of conduct... to give effect to that belief' (Church of the New Faith v Commissioner for Payroll Tax (1983)), and subjective-substantive tests in American law: 'whether the beliefs professed... are sincerely held and... are, in his own scheme of things, religious' (US v Seeger (1965)).

2. The Individuality and Sociality of Religion:

(a) Sociology of Religion: Religion as an Individual v Group phenomenon

Some view religion as an autonomous and individualistic human experience, outside the social environment, a matter of solitary feelings and acts in relation to the devine. Others emphasise the social nature of religion as a group phenomenon.

In 1915, Durkheim described religion's real function and said it is ' to awaken within the worshipper a certain state of soul, composed of moral force and confidence. The essential thing is that men are assembled, that sentiments are felt in common and expressed in common acts, but the particular nature of these sentiments and acts s something secondaryand contingent'.

Marx, on the other hand, described religion by saying it is 'the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people'.

For reductionists, as a religious system is a social system, so a religious organisation is 'an affiliation regulator' in which individuals as social entities express themselves in actions regulated by norms. According to the so-called phenomenological approach, religion is seen to:

  1. provide meaning for the individual.
  2. represent a source of social stability
  3. link the individual with the larger social group; and
  4. create order through shared worldviews about reality and humankind.

Religion originates in the individual not society (though society shapes religion), a basic human necessity providing rewards/compensation for the unachievable in this life.

(b) The Law: Religion as the Activities of Individuals and Collectives

Legal evidence is conflicting. On the one hand, the classical approach of the common law tended towards the individualistic nature of religion: the focus of freedom of religious belief and practice was the individual. On the other hand, most parliamentary statutes on religion have historically, dealt with religious collectives or classes, and only rarely with religious practice by the individual.

Today, however, the Human Rights Act 1998 treats free religious belief and practice as exercisd both 'by religious organisation (itself or its members collectively)' (s.13), and by the individual ' either alone or in community with others and in public or private'.

3. Religion, Social Stability and Change:

(a) Sociology

For some, religion maintains social stability and individual well being by:

  1. providing a sense of belonging and of obligations to others
  2. adherence to moral code, reinforcement of the collective conscience,
  3. expression through symbolic rituals, so that
  4. the social order itself may have a sacred quality.

It is not religious doctrines themselves that are important but the social bonds affected byy integration of people into a religious collective, micro-society.

(b) The Law

"The government fully recognises the benefits that derive from the maintenance of religion." Home Office: Administration of Grants.

"any religion is at least likely to be better than none" Neville Estates v Madden [1962] Ch 852

to take a person "outside his own petty cares and lead him to think of others". Holmes v AG (1981) unreported.

Also, the court decisions represent largely untapped sources for the influence of: religious groups on the development of law, unsolicited or solicited - and recent government practices of consultation with churches are noteworthy, and religious ideas in judicial decisions (eg biblical teaching as the basis of the 'neighbour principle' in tort law).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A new type of Blog...

I am very excited to announce a new blog I am working on in collaboration with one of my good friends. It will be based on the life of a fictional character inspired by a certain person we know in real life. The blog will be launched soon. It will be written in first person perspective; in other words, it will be as if the fictitious person is writing on his online diary. We asked for permission from our friend to use him as our inspiration to creating this fictitious character and he reluctantly agreed but imposed a clause of complete anonymity and so I will commence to tell you his full name ... Just kidding, i can never breach the oral contract we made.

A lot of the stories the fictitious person speaks of will be things that our "anonymous" friend actually experienced and will therefore, we hope, make him more believable and easy to relate to; whilst, still being entertaining and interesting.

Me and my good friend while in the preliminary stages of creating this blog (we are half way there) made a conscious decision to not mention which religion this fictitious character belongs to in order to appeal to a wider audience and not deprive people from experiencing this fascinating character in account to different religious opinions, though "God" will be referred to from time to time in the course of conversations the fictitious character has in order to keep true to the essence of what makes this inspiring friend of ours so interesting and original.

Since it will be written in first person perspective, I will make cameos in some of the stories the fictitious character speaks of. However, real names will not be used and thus it will add to the value of the new blog for people who already know me personally to try and identify which character is actually inspired by me. It was truly interesting to be speaking about myself from someone else's point of view and I tried to be unbiased and describe myself as our anonymous friend would describe me.

I will keep you updated on this new blog and provide a link once it launches. I really hope it will be as enjoyable to read as it was for us to write and hopefully publish. Of course, I will not abandon this blog and it will always be my kind of haven where I could speak freely and unwind without wandering or worrying about how friends or relatives would react to the things I say (even though I know some of them actually are reading it!).

Friday, March 30, 2007

This is another poem I wrote...

I was in the airport waiting for the plane crew to let us board the plane. I wrote what came to mind at the time. I used my qwerty mobile phone keyboard and saved it there. I sometimes think it sounds a bit comical but other times not so much (tell me what you think).


Surrounded by people,

yet all alone


Surrounded by pain,

reasons unknown


Reminders of days,

I'd rather leave at bay


Emotional development halted,

but hey, it's all OK


There are principles I live by,

yes, they cause me pain


Without those time will fly,

but then, there will be no gain


I don't like myself,

but, admire my ideals in a loop


Happiness locked in a shelf,

unlocking similar to a military coup

Thursday, February 08, 2007

There I was at 2am in the morning...

Working on my 6000 word essay on how prisons are used as a social control bla bla blaa when I suddenly got fed up and decided to take a little break and check out ebay to see how much those Ricky Gervais Fame Stand Up tour tickets are going for. I knew they were going to be expensive especially since he broke the record for "ticket sales for a live concert tour" where 100,000 tickets were sold in 9 minutes! I was lucky though, I found an amazing bargain!

I am going to go in 30 minutes to watch my favourite comedian doing stand up! Isn't this amazing!? especially since my seat is in a great position check it out.
My seat is in Block 2 row CC which is 3 rows from the stage AND is in the middle!

MMK

===============Update================

I just came back. Firstly, it turns out that row CC actually is about 24 rows back not 3 rows back . I found that out after the girl who actually has a seat on the 3rd row came and told me its her seat I'm sitting in. Secondly, I go back to find the seat I'm suppose to sit on and I find some guy already sitting on it. At that moment I thought to myself, "haha! now the tables have changed, now I am going to be the embarassor instead of the embarassee!". I told him that the seat was mine in a "it's ok you're not that stupid" kind of tone. He shows me his ticket and it turns out, it actually is his seat. Click on the ticket picture above and u'll see why. The date on the ticket is 8th of March not 8th of Feb. Ricky Gervais is doing two shows in Cardiff one today and the other next month. Being the idiot that I am, I just assumed the ticket I bought from ebay is for the feb one.

Anyway, I went and spoke to the reception and they were nice enough to find me a seat at the back. I barely could see Ricky...But at least I could hear him. Which after taking that picture I wish I didn't since he made jokes about his opinion on God ........... Lets just say they weren't in sync with my opinions.
He also repeated some of the jokes he made in talk show programs like Late show with David Letterman. Besides that though, it was a good stand-up comedy show.

In conclusion, 2 years ago a friend of mine told me that he honestly thinks he is smarter than me and I honestly got a bit offended. I thought how could he be so sure? Well, now I know...

Yours truly,
The idiot