Chapter

The Constitution of Religious Bodies

Julian Rivers

in The Law of Organized Religions

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199226108
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594243 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226108.003.0003
The Constitution of Religious Bodies

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There are varying ways in which the law can give expression to the form of organized religions. This chapter traces the origins of the constitution of religious bodies in 19th-century trusts law, as well as the shift to a contract-model later in the century. Modern statutory and corporate structures are outlined, including the use of the corporation sole. Against those who would suggest that religious disputes are non-justiciable, it is argued that the internal rules of an organized religion are enforceable to protect recognized legal interests. These are enumerated in terms of members' rights. Two particularly problematic areas are considered in depth: the resolution of property disputes after schism, and the relationship between religious tribunals and the civil courts. The former raises problems of judicial neutrality in the application of cy-près powers; the latter questions of natural justice and judicial review.

Keywords: constitution; trusts; contract; corporation sole; members' rights; property; schism; religious tribunals; natural justice

Chapter.  19388 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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