About

I was called to the Bar (England and Wales) in 1989 and the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1999. I am an independent practitioner in private practice, undertaking civil litigation throughout the United Kingdom and beyond. I regularly receive nominations to act as mediator or arbitrator in secular and ecclesiastical disputes.
During the last 15 years, I have developed particular interest and expertise in law and religion; with a particular focus upon the recognition of rights and obligations within faith communities. I have conducted extensive research in the area of clergy rights and obligations and the civil law treatment of ministers of religion.
 
I have represented priests throughout the UK and Ireland in connection with issues of canonical defamation, restoration to ministry and the preservation of the internal forum.  My licentiate thesis (KU Leuven) examined the status of diocesan clergy from the vantage point of the civil law. In contrast, my doctoral thesis represented a unique examination of the legitimate expectations of diocesan clergy in the light of canon 384 of the Code of Canon Law; drawing important comparisons between the procedures applied to diocesan clergy and those applicable to the medical profession This is now published in book form: "Fathers and Brothers- The Legitimate Expectation of Diocesan Clerics in The Light of Canon 384 of the Code of Canon Law" (Peeters, Leuven, 2018). Click here http://www.peeters-leuven.be/boekoverz.asp?nr=10654.
In recent years, I have also advised Bishops and Religious Superiors in relation to the demands of due process, the conduct of canonical inquiries and the admissibility of evidence.  
 
The details on this page are intended to provide a flavour of the range of my work and interests.  
Academic Qualifications
LLB (Hons)   University of Central Lancashire 
LLM                University of Leicester 
JCL                   Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
JCD                  Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
PhD                 Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
FCIArb          Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators 
FRSA              Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts
Appointments
Employment Judge (England and Wales)
Diocesan Judge
Fellow of The University of Cardiff, Centre for Law and Religion 
Visiting Professor, Faculty of Canon Law, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Canonical Services
  • Clergy Advice and Representation
  • Civil Law Regulatory Compliance for public juridic persons.
  • Advice concerning the Amalgamation and Restructure of Religious Institutes  
  • Advice re Temporal Goods
Areas of special Interest
  • Law of Obligations
  • History of Law 
  • Secular and Canon Law Treatment of Temporal Goods
  • Administrative Recourse
  • Canon Law and Human Rights
  • Due Process in Canon Law 
Publications and Papers

2006-2010 Encyclopedia of Employment Law (Sweet & Maxwell, London, Looseleaf -Contributor)

 

2006 “Employment Status of Clergy” Canon Law Society Great Britain and Ireland

(Sligo, Ireland, 2006);

 

2009 “Protection of the Law” The Furrow, Ireland

 

2009 “Directory on the Canonical Status of the Clergy – Rights, Obligations and Procedures”

(Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, London – also adopted by the Catholic Church in Scotland)

 

2016 “Pardon and Peace – Rights and Responsibilities in Canon Law” in “The Confluence of Law and Religion – Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Work of Norman Doe” (Cranmer, Hill, Kenny and Sandberg eds) (Cambridge, 2016)
 

2018 - "Fathers and Brothers - The Legitimate Expectation of Diocesan Clerics in the Light of Canon 384 of the Code of Canon Law" (Peeters, Leuven)

2018 - "De Minimis non curat lex?" Newsletter, Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland

2019– “A Review of the Work of Harold Berman” in “Leading Works in Law and Religion” (Sandberg, John Witte jnr et al) (Cambridge).

 

Reviews

Ecc L Journal: Review of John J Coughlin “Canon Law- A Comparative Study with

Anglo-American Theory” (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011)

Ecc L Journal: Review of John J Coughlin, “Law Person Community” (Oxford,

University Press, Oxford, 2012)

Ecc. L Journal: Review of : Den Otter: “Judicial Review in an Age of Moral

Pluralism’

Lexisnexis UK: Case Commentary and Review of Supreme Court decision in

President of Methodist Conference v Preston [2013] UKSC 39 (employment status of

ministers of religion).

Lexisnexis UK: Case Commentary and Review of Supreme Court decision in R (On

the Application of Hodkin and Another) v Registrar General of Births, Deaths and

Marriages [2013] UKSC 77 (Civil court definition of ‘religion’ and place of

‘religious worship’)

Conferences and Academic Papers Delivered

2006 “Church, Constitution and Human Rights of Priests” [Clonliffe College, Dublin]

2006 “The Rights of Clergy” [Elphin Diocesan Conference, Knock, Ireland]

2006 “The Employment Status of Clergy". [Annual Conference of the Canon Law Society Great Britain and Ireland)

[Annual Conference of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Sligo, Ireland]

2006 “The Legislative Competence of the Bishops’ Conference” (Catholic Church Insurers Association)

2007 “The Nature of the Relationship between Priest and Bishop” [The Annual Conference of the Diocesan Financial

Secretaries of England and Wales, Hinsley Hall, Leeds]

 

2008 “The Proposed College of Healthcare Chaplains – Union or Regulator” [Catholic Bishops’ Healthcare Reference Group Conference, Hawkstone Hall, Cheshire]

2009 “The Dynamic of the Employment Tribunal” [DLA Summer School, New College, Oxford]

2009 “The Aspirational Nature of Laws” [Sabbatical Programme, American College, Leuven]

2009 “Borrowing from Caesar- the Canonisation of Civil Law” [LLM Programme, University of Cardiff]

 

2009 “The Exercise of Authority in the Church” [National Clergy Retreat, Intercession for Priests, Hinsley Hall, Leeds]

 

2010 “Religious Discrimination: The Final Prejudice” [ILS Conference, Manchester, November 2010]

 

2010 “Human Rights and Healthcare” [Catholic Bishops’ Healthcare Advisors Reference Group Conference, Manchester]

 

2010 “Religious Discrimination – Last Acceptable Prejudice” (Industrial Law Society Conference, Manchester)

 

2010 "The Effect of the Civil Law on Data Protection (in the Various Civil Jurisdictions Represented) on Canonical Proceedings” [Annual Conference of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, (3-7 May): The City Hotel, Derry,

Northern Ireland]

 

2010 “Data Protection, Privilege, Confidentiality and Ecclesiastical Tribunals” [Annual Conference of Judicial Vicars and Tribunal Personnel of Ireland, Dublin]

2011 “Trade Unions and Industrial Action” [Hill Dickinson, Regional Training Conference, May 2011]

2012 “Faith Schools” [Faith Schools and The Law, a Comprehensive Guide, London, CLT]

2012 “Spirituality of Sacerdotal Priesthood” [National Clergy Retreat, Intercession for Priests, Hinsley Hall, Leeds]

 

2012 “Data Protection and Ecclesial Governance” [Stone King Conference, London]

2013 “To Govern is to Choose- Accountability and Governance: Catholic Church Employer of workers and Volunteers”

(Catholic Solicitors Conference, Pembroke College, Oxford)

 

2013 “Data Protection, Defamation and Ecclesiastical Tribunal Practice” (In-House

Training, Judicial and other Tribunal Personnel, Salford, England)

 

2013 “Religion and the Workplace” (Religion and Employment Annual Conference, CLT, London)

 

2014 “Overtime or Overdue” The Working Time Directive (In House Training,

Legal Personnel, North-West)

 

2015 “Legitimate Expectation” (Association of Local Government Lawyers,

Preston, England)

 

2015 “Confession and the Civil Law” (University of Cardiff LLM)

 

2015 “Who Do People Say I am? – Data Protection” (Law Society Conference, Liverpool, 2015)

 

2017 - with Fr Paul Burke JCL "Borrowing from Caesar? Has the time come for a review of the Law of Temporal Goods?" CLSGBI Newsletter, (October, 2017 at 68)

2017 - with Fr Paul Burke JCL "A school of the Lord's Service? Faith Education post-brexit" CLSGBI  (October, 2017 at 77). 

2018, "Safeguarding and Priesthood - locating the Common Good" (The Missionary Society of St James the Apostle, Lima, Peru).  
2018 "Being Responsible with Data"  - (Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London, February 2018)
2018 "Safeguarding- Institutional Integrity and the Common Good" (Conference of Religious/Buzzacott Conference, London) 
2018 "Safeguarding - The Common Good" Raphoe Diocese Clergy Retreat, Enniskillen, N. Ireland 
2018 "Ubi Societas Ibi Ius - in search of the vinculo iuris" UK Defence Academy, Quarterdeck Lecture 
2019 "Res Publica - Safeguarding, Prudence, and The Common Good" The Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome