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LLB, PhD (Cantab), SFHEA, FRSA.
School of Law
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 484905
Headington Hill Hall, H1.17
Peter completed his PhD, on Manx Public Law, at Wolfson College Cambridge in 1994, and began his academic career at Lancashire Law School, developing a further specialism in the interaction of law and religion. He was appointed Reader in Law and Religion at Oxford Brookes in 1999, and Professor of Law in 2003. He has held grants to support his research and teaching from the ESRC, the AHRC, JISC, HEIF, the HEA, the British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust. He has acted as external examiner at undergraduate or PhD level for Cardiff University, City University of Hong Kong, Durham University, King's College London, University of Kwazulu-Natal, University of Oxford, Newcastle University and the University of Western Australia.His research students have gone on to academia, private practice, government service, and politics. He is a member of the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objection, which advises the Secretary of State for Defence.
Peter's main contribution to the undergraduate programme is his distance learning module Religion and Law in the 21st Century (U22179). He also supervises undergraduate dissertations.
At master's level, his main contribution is to the LLM in Legal Practice. Peter was one of the validating team for the LLM, and has taught on it since its inception. He leads the distance learning skills module. He supervises a wide range of topics at this level, including topics with a religious element (such as Shariah projects), and work on any small jurisdiction with a common-law inheritance. He also teaches on the LLM in International Law programme, co-teaching Inequality, Diversity, and Human Rights with Professor Lucy Vickers.
At research degree level, Peter primarily supervises in the area of law and religion. Past projects have, for instance, included religious terrorism, the right to life under ECHR and Shariah law, the identity of Arab Muslim Women, sacred sites, and religion and crime. He also supervises on the law of small jurisdictions, for instance on the role of the Privy Council in the Commonwealth Caribbean. He particularly welcomes PhD applications in the area of the interaction between commercial and religious activity, definitional issues around religion and/or belief, and the constitutional law of the Crown Dependencies.
LAW6010 Religion and Law in the 21st Century.
LAW7046 Inequality, Diversity and Human Rights.
LAW7040 Advanced Legal Research Methods.
Craig Allen, How should English courts regulate religious fraud and religious undue influence?, Ph.D. (2021).
Ferhun Kahraman, Ethnic composition of the Constitutional Courts in ethnically divided societies under the Consociational Democracy: The case of the Republic of Cyprus and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ph.D. (2019).
Sarah Hayes, To what extent does public presence destabilise a local church’s autonomy over its precinct?, Ph.D. (2019).
Ahmed Almuqham, Freedom of parties in international commercial arbitration: An analytical and comparative study of Shariah, the Saudi Arbitration Law 2012 and the English Arbitration Act 1996, Ph.D. (2019).
Louisa Haviaras, Free movement of scientists within the European Research Area (ERA): An analysis of the Cypriot research market, Ph.D. (2019).
Alfred Fullah, The legacy of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Ph.D. (2018).
Sonia Morano-Foadi, Citizenship, Migration and Fundamental rights: Challenges at the Crossroads of European Integration, PhD by Published Work (2017).
Nawaf Alyaseen, Islamic public policy and morality principles and their effect on trade mark protection in the light of the TRIPS agreement, PhD (2017).
Laurin Correa Carranza, The role of regional organisations in international copyright law, PhD (2015).
Felipe Romero Moreno, Amending the UK Digital Economy Act 2010 from a subscribers’ human rights perspectives, Phd (2015).
Natasha Helim, “ Brunei: Building and Enshrining an Absolute Monarchy”, MPhil (2015).
Mohammad Almaharmeh, Judicial Jurisdiction and legal Conflicts on the Internet: An Analysis of Jordanian Cyber Jurisdiction Rules, PhD (2014).
Theodore Ngoy, The presumption of innocence before the International Criminal Court, LLM by Research (2011).
Wipiphat Swangphol, Religious grievance in modern terrorism: Trouble in Southeast Asia, a case study of Southern Thailand, LLM by Research (2011)
Javad Gohari, A legal study of the right to life under the ECHR and Islamic Law, PhD (2011)
Deema al-Saud, Living in two worlds: an investigation into the identity of Arab Muslim women in contemporary Great Britain., PhD (2010)
Philipp Schmidinger, The effectiveness of visiting mechanisms for the implementation of International Human Rights Law, PhD (2010)
Rajan Christumony, Sacred sites and international law: A case study of the Ayodhya dispute, PhD (2008).
Derek O’Brien, The protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Independence constitutions of the Commonwealth Caribbean: The role of the Privy Council and the impact of saving law clauses for pre-Independence laws, Ph.D. by Published Work (2006).
Andrea Blackhurst, When worlds collide: The interaction between English criminal law and religious belief, MPhil (1999).
Professor Peter Edge has two principal research interests.
Firstly, the law of small jurisdictions with a common law inheritance, particularly the Isle of Man. His doctoral work at Cambridge University concentrated on the public law of the Isle of Man, including both constitutional and criminal law, and his publications in the area seek to show how the study of Manx law can illuminate issues of broader scholarly concern (for instance, in a study of the Manx Tynwald aimed at informing reforms to the UK House of Lords).
Secondly, the interaction of law and religion within the English jurisdiction, but also in transnational law. He is a founder member of LARSN (the Law and Religion Scholars Network), and convenes the annual LARSN PhD Conference at Brookes. His current research focus is on the interaction of the commercial and the religious in law - Commercial Religion.
Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, and an External Fellow at the University of Queensland Centre for Public, International and Comparative law. He was awarded the UCM Honorary Fellowship 2020 for his work with Tynwald and in Manx HE.
Review of the interpretation and effectiveness of equality and human rights law relating to religion or belief, EHRC, 2014-2015 (with Vickers and Manfredi).
Embedding impact analysis: Learning from law, JISC, 2012 (with Vickers et al).
Small Jurisdictions Service, HEIF 4&5, 2011-2013 (with Cooper and O’Brien).
R3D: Religious Rights and Religious Discrimination, HEA Philosophy and Religious Studies Subject Centre, May 2010.
Taking due account of religion in sentencing, Reinvention Centre, February 2007.
Sociology of Rights: Human Rights in Islam between Universal and Communal Perspectives, British Academy Visiting Scholar (Recep Senturk), December 2004.
Religious difference and equality in comparative perspective, Visiting Fellowship Grant, Leverhulme Trust, September 2004.
Global migrations/domestic reactions: A comparative constitutional perspective, conference grant, Linnells, November 2001 (with Diana Woodhouse).
Religious representation in the legislature: The Lord Bishop in the Manx Tynwald, ESRC, 2001 (with Diana Woodhouse and Ros Stott).
Library Support for the Study of World Religions at Oxford Brookes University, The Spalding Trust, 2000.
Legal Responses to Religious Difference, Research Leave Scheme, 1999; Arts and Humanities Research Board.
In 2020 the Isle of Man responded to the Coronavirus pandemic with the declaration of a State of Emergency under the Emergency Powers Act 1936 (EPA), and exceptional governance of the Isle of Man under a regime of Emergency Powers Regulations (EPR). This brief note describes the legal structure underpinning the Emergency, outlines the extensive body of EPRs, and argues that the distinctive Manx response is best understood as the consequence of the Isle of Man’s status as a small island democracy dependent upon the UK Crown.
The Isle of Man is a largely autonomous dependent territory of the UK. In 2016, Lord Lisvane was commissioned to report on the functioning of the principal organ of governance, the Tynwald. This Lisvane Review has led to substantial constitutional reform within this small democracy, particularly in relation to the unelected second chamber of Tynwald, the Legislative Council. This reflects an ancient tension within the Manx constitution between the House of Keys, since the mid-nineteenth century a directly elected chamber, and the unelected Legislative Council. The Lisvane period saw important changes to the composition and powers of the Legislative Council, as well as gender diversity within Tynwald as a whole. Placing the Manx experience within a broader small democracy theoretical and comparative framework demonstrates not only the possibility of constitutional reform, but also provides insights into resources for constitutional development, the special challenges of managing intimacy, and the dangers of over-concentration of power in a small democracy.
The Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man is an important member of the Legislative Council, the second chamber of the Manx Tynwald. The shape of Tynwald has changed considerably since the mid-nineteenth century, and there have been frequent reviews of the place of ecclesiastical officers in it. The most recent debates illuminate this form of religious representation, but in particular show the importance of ecclesiastical structures – and the contingent status of the Diocese of Sodor and Man – in the lord bishop retaining a vote, as well as a voice, in the principal organ of governance in the Isle of Man. This article argues that a more critical approach is needed in weighing the ecclesiastical structure argument against other constitutional arguments around the constitutional position of the lord bishop.
Hate preaching is capable of constituting both hate crime and hate speech, lies at the centre of many religions’ understanding of the manifestation of their religion, and frequently raises the contentious issue of regulation of the use of sacred scriptures. This brief article explores the regulation of hate preaching by criminal law, discussing the particular problems posed by oppositional religious speech, before concluding with suggestions for a number of ways to reduce these problems.
The UK provides a marked contrast to the jurisdiction that dominates Anglophone discourse on law and religion—that of the USA. Not only does the UK continue to have at least one Established Church, but until the end of the 20th century there was no overarching guarantee of freedom of religion that could be used to frame discussion of the autonomy of religious organizations. This article treats the Human Rights Act 1998, which provided that frame through partial incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights, as a watershed. It begins with an analysis of the pre-1998 case law, which began to develop a ministerial exception through distinctive interpretation of normal employment law. The article concludes with an evaluation of the long arc of the law in the context of contested ideas of the proper sphere of state action in relation to relationships within a religious organization, and the role of judicial creativity in the legal–religious interface.
The introduction in the UK of the Civil Partnership Act (2004) and it's enactment (2005) seemed to herald a new plurality and inclusiveness in the ceremonial law and practices of marriage. However, the provisions of the Act maintain an historically exclusive demarcation between secular and religious elements. Neither the ceremony nor the approved premises may have any relation to religious content or usage. Consequently, three groups remain unable to participate in religious weddings: same-sex couples, members of small religious communities, and dissidents. The public act of a wedding for these groups is not only exclusive, we argue, but pays little heed to the private needs of participants nor the private ritual significance such acts necessarily include. Moreover, the exclusion of religious elements is both difficult to interpret and police. We examine the nature and limitations of the provisions and guidance on the Civil Partnership Act and argue that maintenance of a standardised secularism within public law, as in marriage law and the Civil Partnership Act, is anachronous in a modern plural state. This article challenges the division between public secular acts and private acts of ritual and personal significance. We suggest that private actors import religious elements and meanings into secular ceremonies and that guidance to registrars officiating in civil ceremonies does not provide absolute prohibitions to couples using religiously significant elements of ritual or practice. We conclude that the Act continues practices of unjustified differential treatment and that reform to a more inclusive legal framework is both possible and necessary.
This paper explores the relationship between religion and sentencing. It considers what problems may arise when a judge fails to take proper account of a defendant's religious beliefs at the sentencing stage, or takes improper account. It highlights the need for more guidance to be given to judges in order to ensure greater consistency and fairness in sentencing outcomes.
The function of religion in the sentencing phase of a criminal trial has been comparatively neglected. The structure of the European Convention does not leave it open simply to ignore religion in sentencing--that route to neutrality in relation to religion has been closed. Instead, the developing jurisprudence under the Convention has created obligations in relation to both the manifestation of religion through offending, and the treatment of repeat, conscientious offenders. These obligations have the potential to give too much emphasis to the protection of religious conviction over other pressing state interests, in particular the rights and interests of others, and need to be read narrowly.
Lawyers, both practitioners and academics, engage with legal history in a variety of ways. Increasing attention is being paid to legal regulation of history and memory. I argue that the interaction of law and history is particularly problematic within the context of a dispute with a religious element. I will use three case-studies to illustrate these challenges: (1) The repeal of the Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951 by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008; (2) The Babri Masjid/Ram Temple dispute in Ayodhya, India; and (3) The Hindmarsh Island bridge controversy in South Australia; These case studies show the difficulties legal actors face when confronted with incompatible secular and sacred histories and diverse ways of ‘knowing history’, and the importance, nonetheless, of understanding history to understand law and religion.
This chapter focuses on those provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) most clearly relevant to freedom of religion: Article 9, and Article 2 of the First Protocol. These provisions are placed in context, both in terms of the development of freedom of religion at the international level, and in terms of the history of the drafting of the provisions. The exposition function was particularly important in a text on freedom of religion or belief. It was the first full-length text providing a sustained consideration of freedom of religion under the ECHR, as opposed to in international law more generally. A lack of sympathy, or perhaps better put, a failure of judicial imagination when considering the position of atheists within a religious rights regime, materialised in Lautsi v Italy. Eweida removed the initial hurdle in making a religion or belief claim, a second hurdle is immediately encountered: the margin of appreciation.
Research report prepared for Daphne Caine, MHK (Member of the House of Keys).
This report examines the unique arrangements for the appointment and removal of the President of the Pacific state of Kiribati, in the context of political, historical and social factors. It outlines the potential for similar mechanisms to be introduced in the Isle of Man, while remaining aware of the significance of the constitutional, geographical and cultural differences between the two jurisdictions. The report concludes that the dual effect of a vote of no confidence in Kiribati’s model, which triggers not only a new Presidential election but also a fresh general election for the legislature, provides a measure of balance between competing democratic mandates. However it is not the only option, and refinements could be made. Requiring a special majority for a vote of no confidence in the President without triggering a general election may also be considered. Attention should also be paid to identifying the desirable number of presidential candidates, and to how they are to be nominated.
This study reviews the interpretation and effectiveness of the current domestic legislative framework in relation to religion or belief under equality and human rights law. The review is based upon a detailed analysis of primary and secondary sources of British and European law, recent research carried out by the EHRC, the extensive body of academic literature in the field, and the insights of a diverse group of academics, legal practitioners, representatives of religion or belief organisations and representatives of other advisory and equality bodies. The report explores the legal definitions of religion and of belief and the relationship between them; the legal protection for religion or belief at European level and its application in Great Britain; the balancing of rights and the exceptions to equality law duties on the basis of religion or belief; the idea of a duty of reasonable accommodation; and the public sector equality duty. This report takes forward the EHRC's religion or belief strategy, Shared understandings. This committed the Commission to an extensive work programme including an assessment of the effectiveness of the existing legislative framework.
He is a member of the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objection, which advises the Secretary of State for Defence. He is also a member of the Isle of Man Self-Assessment Working Party on the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures.
EHRC Report 97: Review of equality and human rights law relating to religion or belief, (2015) http://tinyurl.com/nah4ldh (with Vickers).
“Nationalising a national emergency: The Manx Experience of the 2020 Pandemic”, HSS Coronavirus Seminar Series, July 2020.
“Crown Dependency Parliaments”, Study of Parliaments Group Virtual Seminar Series, May 2020.
“Legislative/Executive relationships in small democracies”, UCM Lecture Series, University College of the Isle of Man, May 2019 (with de Than).
“The Constitutional Conundrum”, Progressive Action Group, Isle of Man, April 2019 (round-table contributor).
“Thinking about constitutional reform in the Isle of Man: Reflections on the Lisvane Period”, Law Drafting and Law Reform in Small Jurisdictions, Centre for Small States, March 2019 (invited contributor).
“The Lisvane Legacy”, UCM Lecture Series, University College of the Isle of Man, January 2019 (with de Than).
“Reforming the Manx Tynwald”, CIFORB Theory of Change Workshop, Manchester Harris College, Oxford, April 2018 (invited contributor).
"Windows into (corporate) souls: Do companies have religious rights?”, Public Lecture, SHU Public Law Conference, April 2018.
“Tales from (another) small island: Reforming the Manx Tynwald”, Public Lecture, SHU Public Law Conference, April 2018.
“Taking the long view on LegCo: Reforming the Council, 1417-2018”, Public Lecture, University College Isle of Man, January 2018.
"Who cares about unbelief?" Roundtable panel, UCL, London, December 2016.
"Commercial religion and law", Krinock Lecture, Hertford College Oxford, July 2016.
"The problem with religious hatred law", LARSN, Cardiff, May 2016.
“An Anglo-American perspective on religion and the workplace”, Observatoire Social International, Paris, October 2015.
Convenor, “Anglo-Brazilian Dialogues on Law and Religion/ Diálogo Anglo-Brasileiro sobre Direito e Religião”, e-seminars, July 2015-2016.
Convenor, “Condemnation”, cross-Faculty workshop, July 2015.
“Patriot Games? The American Revolution and Magna Carta”., Magna Carta Day, 18 June 2015.
“Sovereign/Lord? Modern legal controversies over Revestment”, 250th Anniversary of Revestment Conference, IOMNHAS, May 2015.
“Changing definitions of religion”, Charity Law Unit, Liverpool University, May 2015 (invited paper).
“Microjurisdictions workshop”, April 2015, Jersey Law Institute.
“Sacred places, community cohesion and partnership”, OJLR Summer Academy, June 2014 (invited paper).
“Asking the dissident question in law and religion”, LARSN, Cardiff, May 2014 (invited panelist).
“Counsel pro hac vice in small jurisdictions: The Manx experience”, Centre for the Study of the Legal Profession Westminster University, June 2013.
“Sacred places are shared places”, Oxford Journal of Law and Religion Summer Academy, June 2013.
“Colonialism, capital punishment, and embarrassing Queen Victoria: Manx Capital Punishment 1800-2000”, SJS Webinar, June 2013.
“The special status of religion as a reflection of the fact/value and physical/metaphysical distinctions”, The impact of religion: Challenges for society, law and democracy, Uppsalla Universitet, May 2013 (invited panellist).
“Temp or consultant? Reflections on temporary licensing of foreign lawyers in small jurisdictions”, SJS Webinar, February 2013.
“Love rights and love rites in civil partnerships and same-sex marriage”, Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice, February 2013.
"Hate and Blame Colloqium", Oxford Brookes University, June 2012,
"Sacred sites and state failure: The Babri Marjd/Ram Temple Dispute in Ayodhya", Sharing sacred space, International Centre for Law and Religion Studies, December 2011.
"Hateful words of God", Royal Society of Edinburgh Seminar on Defining Racism in Criminal Law, September 2011.
“Autonomy and the Established Church: A contradiction?”, Transformation of Church and State Relations in Germany and Great Britain, Munster Cluster of Excellence (Religion and Politics), June 2010.
“Religion and Law in the 21st Century”, Politics, Religion and International Relations Lecture Series, Centre for Christianity and Culture Regent’s Park College Oxford, April 2010.
“Consuming Occulture”, Lancashire Law School Guest Seminar, February 2010.
“Religion as religio in 21st century English case law”, (LARSN Annual Conference, Cardiff University, May 2010).
“Counter-terrorism, Establishment, and an Anglican Islam”, Oxford Society for Law and Religion, Balliol College, Oxford 26 June 2009.
“Security, Places of Worship and Religious Autonomy”, Brigham Young University/CEU Colloquium, Budapest 26-28 May 2009.
“The Guest House on the Borderlands: Consuming Occulture”, (LARSN Annual Conference, Cardiff University, May 2009).
“Is the authentic human a member of a family? Some thoughts from law and religion”, University of the West of England Human Rights Group, UWE, 26 February 2008.
“Taking due account of religion in sentencing”, Crime, Religion and History, (Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, January 2008).
“Some reflections on sentencing for the exercise of religious rights”, Oxford Society for Law and Religion, Balliol College, 1 December 2007.
“Glocalisation, multidisciplinarity and law and religion”, invited paper at The Changing Nature of Religious Rights in International Law, ESRC/Bristol Centre for the Study of Law and Religion, Bristol, 5-6 July, 2007.
“Sacred places as generators of dangerous social capital?”, British Sociology Assocation (Religion Study Group) Conference, (Manchester University, Manchester, April 2006).
“Religious rights and human rights: The place of a right to exit”, invited paper at Insan Haklarinda Yeni Ariyislar, Mazlumder/EDAM, Istanbul, 27-29 May 2006.
“The tail that has yet to wag the dog: Abu Hamza and state control of places of worship”, University of the West of England Law Seminar Series, March 13 2006.
“Sacred places as generators of social capital: Some thoughts from the United Kingdom”, Keynote paper at Confrontation and Co-Existence in Holy Places: Religious, political and legal aspects of the Israeli:Palestinian context, Jewish-Arab Center Haifa University/Al-Qasemi Academy, 2-3 January 2006
"Religious liberty vs non-discrimination on the grounds of religion", British Association for the Study of Religions (Harris Manchester College Oxford, September 2004)., 2004
"The collapse of the Big Tent: The Bishops and Lords Reform", Centre for Legal Research and Policy Studies, Oxford Brookes University, 17 June 2004., 2004
“Religious representation in a democratic legislature: The case of the Isle of Man Tynwald”, Centre for Democracy Studies, Oxford Brookes University, 2 June 2003., 2004
Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, Lancashire Law School, 1992-1999.
Follow him on twitter: @edge_lawHe also blogs, primarily on Manx law issues at: https://edgelawblog.wordpress.com/