Religion, law and the constitution

Balancing beliefs in Britain

About the project

Balancing Beliefs is a project which looks at how the legal system can ensure that everyone’s religious, spiritual and ethical beliefs receive appropriate recognition, protection and respect.

Some of the key questions we explore include:

  • How should we resolve clashes when different beliefs and rights conflict?
  • How do we protect vulnerable from abuse or exploitation?
  • How should we decide which beliefs are worthy of legal protection?

The project is tied to a book by Dr Javier García Oliva and Dr Helen Hall “Religion, Law and the Constitution: Balancing Beliefs in Britain”. This is a legal study, looking at how the Constitution and the law generally has evolved in relation to its treatment of religious and other beliefs in England, Wales and Scotland. However, in order to give this some context, the book also includes a kaleidoscope of views from people of varying religious outlooks, ages, cultural, ethnic and professional backgrounds. The views expressed by the interviewees are given in a purely personal capacity and do not reflect the position of any organisation with which they may be associated.

This website presents this extra material for people to explore. It also provides additional resources for people interested in this aspect of the Constitution, which we hope will be a springboard for further study, reflection and debate.

The authors would like to express their heartfelt thanks to Kirsty Hawksworth and Claire Morris for their dedication and technical support in building this website, and also the constant help and encouragement shown by so many colleagues in both Manchester and Nottingham Trent Universities throughout the project. They could not possibly mention everyone, so sorrowfully concluded that it was best not to try, but are aware and appreciative of the countless individual kindnesses they have received.

Needless to say too, a huge debt of gratitude is owed to all of the interviewees, for their time, enthusiasm and generosity in opening their minds and hearts on such profound subjects.  The authors felt privileged by their willingness to share their insights and hope that others benefit as much as they have from these gifts.