URL: Understanding Religion and Law

Initiator and Accelerator Fund

Project period: September 2015 – January 2016, July 2016 – March 2017

GW4 community leads
University of Bath:
Dr Scott Thomas
University of Bristol: Professor Julian Rivers
Cardiff University: Professor Norman Doe
University of Exeter: Professor Robert Gleave

Project overview

The relationship between religion and law remains an under researched area, and yet it is at the forefront of policy issues in the UK and internationally.  Society and governments (through the law) have regularly sought to control and promote religious practices in the “public interest”.  Increased British religious diversity has given rise to fundamental questions about law and its role in society.  Furthermore, an increased awareness of religion and its role in the creation of international values and laws challenges the “secular” societies which aim to separate religion from the law.

Through the work of the project we aim to address the issues of who an inclusive, innovative and reflective society which recognises religious diversity might be further developed.  We believe this is central to an understanding of what British identity might mean, and how the diversity of British society might be recognised, and the mechanisms whereby a more cohesive society might be developed.

Our aims:

  1. To develop a detailed, interdisciplinary, research programme, using the insights of the first URL project (10/15-3/16) examining how British Muslims obtain religious and legal advice (fatwas) from traditional legal experts (muftis), and how this advice is used by those seeking advice in their religious and community life. The objective is to complete and submit this application by the community end date.
  2. To deepen the research relationships developed in the first URL project between GW4 researchers working in the area of religion and law such that additional collaborative projects might be explored, and a supportive peer-review process of Religion and Law projects is established. The objective is that four GW4 sandpit sessions will have been held where collaborative research projects and outputs in the area of religion and law will have been peer-reviewed by the expertise present in the GW4 institutions.

We have made 4 videos in conjunction with Lonewolf films:


Human Rights