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The role of the church in developing the law
  1. L Skene1,
  2. M Parker2
  1. 1Faculty of Law, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor L Skene, Faculty of Law, University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010, Victoria, Australia;


The church and other community organisations have a legitimate role to play in influencing public policy. However, intervention by the church and other religious bodies in recent litigation in Australia and the United Kingdom raises questions about the appropriateness of such bodies being permitted to intervene directly in the court process as amici curiae. We argue that there are dangers in such bodies insinuating their doctrine under the guise of legal argument in civil proceedings, but find it difficult to enunciate a principled distinction between doctrine and legal argument. We advise that judges should exercise caution in dealing with amicus submissions.

  • Amicus curiae
  • civil litigation
  • doctrine
  • legal argument
  • pluralism
  • religion

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