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Commentary on Skene and Parker: the role of the church in developing the law
  1. L Gormally
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr L Gormally, The Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics, 60 Grove End Road, London NW8 9NH UK;


Skene and Parker are demonstrably mistaken in suggesting that the amicus role of Catholic bishops in three cases has been concerned with “developing” the law. In contrast with Skene and Parker’s freestanding conception of legal principle, the Catholic understanding of law’s rational moral foundations has permitted Catholic bishops to defend longstanding legal principle as well as defending the integrity of the church’s health care and welfare services. It is shown that in the three cases under discussion Catholic bishops were providing needed argument otherwise unavailable to the courts in defence of existing statute. In face of the attempts by pressure groups to bypass the legislature and use the courts to subvert fundamental legal principles, the church is perhaps uniquely capable of continuing to provide to the courts rational defences of those principles.

  • Amicus curiae
  • Catholic teaching
  • legal argument
  • legal principle
  • legislature
  • moral foundations of law

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