August 1, 2022
The Ecclesiastical Law Society awards prizes to those on any university degree course which contains a significant element relating to ecclesiastical law, to the student producing the best performance in the subject for the year. From 2010, these prizes have been named in honour of the Rt Revd Dr Eric Kemp (1915 – 2009), Bishop of Chichester and a distinguished canon lawyer, who was the first President of the Society.
In 2022, the Eric Kemp prize has been to Erin Carus. We offer our congratulations to Erin, who writes:
My name is Erin Carus and I am 23 years old. I came to university 2 years after finishing college because I wanted to became a legal secretary. Working as a legal secretary and working alongside lawyers for a year, I realised I wanted more, I wanted to become a lawyer. I did not do my A-levels and therefore, only had a legal secretary diploma which was not enough to get me into university. I decided to teach myself English and Sociology A-level; achieving a B and an A, I was able to go to a few of my university choices. I chose Oxford Brookes because of their friendly and welcoming environment.
The work I undertook in regard to this award was on the question, “Should any beliefs be excluded from protection as religious beliefs because of their content?”. This question is becoming more and more prevalent as society is becoming more secular and pluralistic, and therefore, more complex to answer. Society is forming more faiths that may come under the category of belief rather than religion. However, beliefs and religions are protected in the same way by the Equality Act 2010 and by Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998. Posing the question whether they should hold the same weight in terms of protection. To overcome this complexity my essay suggests that some beliefs should be excluded from protection if the manifestation of that belief is to harm others, however small that harm may be. A balancing act of harm would ensure the continued protection of rights afforded by the Human Rights Act in a society with many, conflicting, beliefs.
More information about the Society’s prizes is available here.