Coronavirus and the Curtailment of Religious Freedom (Webinar, 5 October)

September 26, 2020

We are glad to be able to share the news that our chairman, Professor Mark Hill QC, is giving the keynote presentation at a symposium on ‘Coronavirus and the Curtailment of Religious Freedom’ on Monday 5 October at 4pm UK time (11am EST). This webinar is part of the Global Lawyering Spotlight Lecture Series from the University of Notre Dame law school.

Those interested in attending should click here to register. Note that registration is required.

Every nation on earth has been touched by the impact of Covid-19, a deadly pandemic that has changed the manner in which we are governed and live our daily lives. This unique focus for this symposium will be the effect upon the enjoyment of religious liberty as a direct or indirect result of state responses to the threat posed to their citizens by the Coronavirus.

An introductory keynote presentation will be given by Professor Mark Hill QC, a distinguished expert in international religious liberty, followed by short responses from Professor Richard Garnett, Professor Stephanie Barclay, both of Notre Dame University, USA, and from Professor Arif Jamal of the National University of Singapore, and Dr Idowu Akinloye of Ajayi Crowther University, Nigeria.

The principal paper will outline the international norms for the enjoyment of the qualified right to freedom of religion, emphasising how the qualifications have been narrowly drawn and strictly interpreted. It will then examine how the Coronavirus emergency has led to the re-drawing of the proportionality balance between religious liberty on the one hand and public health on the other. In particular it will consider:

  • The constitutionality of restrictions imposed by government on movement and association
  • The prohibition of public worship and other forms of religious observance
  • The extent to which religious organisations may have been complicit in curtailing their own freedom liberties
  • Judicial oversight of government action and the waning of any doctrine of deference

Professor Hill will draw upon emergent case law from British and European Courts in which the balance to be drawn between the enjoyment of rights and the public good have been discussed, and the extent to which trends are discernible as greater expert knowledge has emerged. The other speakers will pick up these themes from North American, Asian and African perspectives.

Mark Hill QC
Mark Hill QC is an adjunct Professor at Cardiff University; the University of Pretoria; King’s College, London; and Notre Dame University Law School, Sydney; and is a Distinguished Fellow of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University. He is Chairman of the Ecclesiastical Law Society, Vice-President of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, consultant editor of the Ecclesiastical Law Journal and a member of the editorial board of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion. His recent publications include the fourth edition of the practitioner text Ecclesiastical Law (2018), Religion, Law and Security (2018), Great Christian Jurists in English History (2017), The Confluence of Law and Religion (2016), and Magna Carta, Religion and the Rule of Law (2015). His is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Freedom of Religion or Belief (2020, in production). He practises at the Bar in London and has conducted litigation in the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

Arif Jamal
Arif Jamal is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore (NUS Law). Arif was educated in Canada and the UK, and completed his PhD at University College London (UCL). He is the author of Islam, Law and the Modern State (Routledge, 2018) and a co-editor of Regulating Religion in Asia: Norms, Modes and Challenges (Cambridge, 2019) and of the Routledge Handbook of Freedom of Religion or Belief (forthcoming). Currently, Arif serves as the Deputy Director of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS) at NUS Law and as a co-Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Journal of Comparative Law (Cambridge University Press). Arif’s research and teaching interests include law and religion, law in Muslim contexts, and legal and political theory, and he has held visiting appointments with the law schools of the University of Trento, Tel Aviv University, City University of Hong Kong, and at the Centre for Transnational Legal Studies in London.

Idowu A Akinloye
Idowu A Akinloye currently lectures in the Faculty of Law, Ajayi Crowther University, Nigeria. He is also a self-supporting priest in the Anglican Church both in Nigeria and South Africa is also a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He holds honours degrees in law and theology from Delta State University and Archbishop Vining College of Theology respectively, and an LLM degree from Obafemi Awolowo University. He has a PhD in Law from Rhodes University, focusing on Law and Religion. Idowu was recently awarded a 2020 Young Scholars Fellowship on Religion and the Rule of Law by the International Center for Law and Religious Studies. His research and teaching interests include church law, law and religion, African customary law and business law. Idowu’s academic writing has been accepted for publication in the Ecclesiastical Law Journal, Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, Journal of Church and State and the Journal of Law and Religion.

Moderators: Professors Rick Garnett & Stephanie Barclay, Notre Dame Law School