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Christian Legal Handbook

By Alan Summers QC
January 2014 | Review by Rod Badams
  • Publisher: John Ritchie Ltd
  • ISBN: 978-1-907731-85-3
  • Price: 14.99
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Book Review

Christian legal handbook
Alan Summers QC and other contributors
John Ritchie
ISBN: 978-1907731853
Star Rating : 3

Given the blessed nature of Britain’s history and heritage, it is disheartening that a publication entitled Christian legal handbook should need to exist. It implies that the Christian way of life and normal activities of local churches within society risk being challenged, restricted or regimented by an increasing burden of statutes and regulations.

Sadly, that is an apt description of today’s social environment. With its departure from Christian presuppositions over the last 50 years, the nation has lost its instinctive ability to apply ‘sanctified common sense’ to its corporate conduct.

Instead, governments have depended increasingly on laws and regulations for the maintenance of social and procedural order. As bureaucracy has intervened in more areas of life and activity, Christians and churches have frequently wondered whether an intended course of action is unlawful (or will be perceived as such) and become the subject of formal complaint.

Although churches faced with an actual legal incident will need more specific advice than can be provided by the Christian legal handbook,it is a good general starting point for understanding with confidence where the boundaries lie between freedom and legal obligation.

The handbookis designed and marketed to accommodate additions or changes. An initial ring-binder priced at £14.99 comes with information on two subjects — open air preaching and food safety.

Information on further subjects will be offered separately to subscribers, costing either £2.99 or £3.99 per subject, depending on the extent of the material. The next two subjects to be covered are responsibility for church buildings and associated property (available October 2013) and child protection (early 2014).

The 13 pages on open air preaching consider whether the authorities have any legal power to prevent the gospel being presented in the open air. The significance of particular court cases which have influenced the law, such as the 1999 case of Redmond-Bate, is explained. Along with this legal analysis, the handbook also gives extensive, sensible advice on tactical issues.

The eight pages on food safety seek to identify what types of church catering are covered by the law and, where the law does apply, what obligations follow.

Rod Badams

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