The Centre for the Study of Law and Religion was established in 2006 to provide a focus for the research interests of a several members of staff and students. The work of the Centre is divided into research themes, of which there are currently four:
Staff at the Centre welcome PhD applications in any of the fields identified above, or associated fields such as theory of church/state relations, religious liberty and ecclesiastical law.
This theme is led by Professor Malcolm Evans, who is a member of the OSCE ODIHR Advisory Council on the Freedom of Religion or Belief. His recent work has included a Manual on the Wearing of Religious Symbols in Public Areas at the request of the Council of Europe, and a Report on the Relationship between the Freedom of Religion and the Freedom of Expression for the Human Rights Subcommittee of the European Parliament. The theme has been supported in the past by an Arts and Humanities Research Council award to work with intergovernmental bodies and NGOs to investigate the changing nature of religious rights in international law. Others who have worked on this theme at Bristol include Dr. Peter Petkoff (now of Brunel University) and Dr. Sylvie Langlaude (now of Queens University, Belfast) who completed her doctoral research on the religious rights of children in international law, since published by Martinus Nijhoff.
This theme is led by Professor Julian Rivers. Its purpose is to consider the institutional, regulatory and human rights dimensions of the interaction between the European Union and religions. Alexandra Pimor has also recently commenced doctoral research in this field.
This theme is led by Professor Julian Rivers, who has a particular interest in domestic law aspects of the regulation of religious associations. He has recently published The Law of Organized Religions: between Establishment and Secularism (OUP, 2010). In his capacity as member of the OSCE ODIHR Advisory Council on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Professor Malcolm Evans contributes to the provision of advice to OSCE participating States concerning the compatibility of laws concerning of religious associations in accordance with human rights standards. He is currently involved in the revision of the OSCE/Venice Commission Guidelines for Review of Legislation pertaining to Religion or Belief.
This theme is led by Dr Jonathan Burnside, who also teaches Jewish Law on the undergraduate law programme. His approach and writings revolve around a semiotic and comparative analysis of the biblical text. He has recently published God, Justice and Society: Aspects of Law and Legality in the Bible (OUP, 2010).