Fascinating judgment on compatibility of COVID regulations requiring closure of places of worship with Article 9 ECHR and Scots constitutional law. scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/default-s…
Points which struck me: the judge (IMO rightly) dismissed the “but you can worship anywhere” argument, noting the emphasis that most Christian churches place on collective worship and (esp in the Catholic tradition) sacramental aspects of worship that can’t be replicated on line.
The other point was the finding that Scots constitutional law imposes a limitation on the powers *of the U.K. Parliament* (and therefore the Scottish Parliament) to interfere with worship - dating back to the 1592 doctrine of the “twa kingdoms”.
Interestingly this was assumed to apply to all churches (including the Roman Catholic Church) - a conclusion that might have surprised the heirs of John Knox in 1592. I also assume it applies to mosques and synagogues- though again that isn’t discussed.
The historical discussion is fascinating. But the constitutional issues even more so.

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More from @GeorgePeretzQC

25 Mar
I’m no fan of the EU’s measures. But “suspend and override the law” is simply incorrect.
(See below, for more explanation. Note also that the EU position - wise or not - is probably defensible under Article XX GATT.)
Fortunately, for once, the current government seems to be taking a more measured and diplomatic approach than that recommended by Lord Moylan.
Read 4 tweets
25 Mar
IMO it’s unwise - it sets an unhappy precedent - for a state to ban vaccine exports where contracts have been entered into. But I think there are dangers (as in other contexts critics of “judicial activism” are eager to point out) in extending the “rule of law” concept too far.
@SBarrettBar seems to regard any state interference with pre-existing contracts as a breach of the rule of law. But if that’s right, then eg legislating to increase tenants’ or employees’ rights, or banning exports of arms or cultural heritage is a breach of the rule of law.
Conceptually it’s better, I think, to regard such interference as an interference with property rights - in ECHR terms, an interference that engages Article 1 of Protocol 1.
Read 8 tweets
24 Mar
The current PM’s identification of capitalism with greed - shades of Gordon Gecko - is quite interesting.
Most political defenders of a market economy or capitalism - from Smith/Hayek to Thatcher - shy well away from that identification: indeed, they reject it.
That’s not just because greed is an unattractive characteristic. More profoundly, it’s because a market economy depends on respect for rules, trust, and responsibility: all of which are undermined by greed.
Read 6 tweets
23 Mar
I’m not convinced that the Chinese government has yet quite got the hang of soft power.
If I were the Chinese government, looking to persuade people that its policies are not genocidal, I might hesitate here. Is “we’re just doing what you did” really the message you want to be sending out?
Read 5 tweets
22 Mar
As this keeps getting quote tweeted at me, perhaps worth noting that in my view it’s answered by @LawDavF here.
In short (as far as the UK is concerned - I’m not looking at the US position) the “one rule for us, another for you” criticism at the end of the thread isn’t warranted by the points made.
The UK has not behaved inconsistently with the principle that pharma co.s should be permitted to comply with binding contracts. In essence, the U.K. got better contracts (which, as the thread points out, is a function of earlier, strategic, and heavy investment).
Read 6 tweets
19 Mar
“Wasted costs orders” are not, as appears to have been spun to @MrHarryCole, a whizzo new idea: they have existed for years. See these slides (found after 10 seconds on Google, so no excuse for any competent journalist not to spot this) for details. associationofcostslawyers.co.uk/write/MediaUpl…
As to the “good faith agreement”, that whizzo idea has also been thought of. See .2 here (from the Bar Code of Conduct). As any barrister would have told @MrHarryCole, had he asked.
There may possibly be something new here: but the job of a journalist (as opposed to a PR agent) is to pin down those spinning this sort of thing out until they explain what is actually new.
Read 7 tweets

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