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England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions >> Hodkin & Ors, R (on the application of) v Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages  EWHC 3635 (Admin) (19 December 2012)
Cite as:  WLR(D) 3,  EWHC 3635 (Admin),  PTSR 875
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF
(1) LOUISA HODKIN
(2) CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY RELIGIOUS EDUCATION COLLEGE INC
|- and -
REGISTRAR GENERAL OF BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES
WordWave International Limited
A Merrill Communications Company
165 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DY
Tel No: 020 7404 1400, Fax No: 020 7831 8838
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
Mr James Strachan (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) for the Defendant
Hearing dates: 23rd and 24th October 2012
Crown Copyright ©
MR JUSTICE OUSELEY :
The statutory provisions
"Every place of meeting for religious worship of Protestant Dissenters or other Protestants, and of persons professing the Roman Catholic religion, […] not heretofore certified and registered or recorded in manner required by law, and every place of meeting for religious worship of persons professing the Jewish religion, not heretofore certified and registered or recorded as aforesaid, and every place of meeting for religious worship of any other body or denomination of persons, may be certified in writing to the Registrar General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in England,…"
The decision in Segerdal
"Our Knowledge and understanding of the Supreme Being is very profound. Whilst we do not have a litanical form of worship, nevertheless our services are designed for people to acquire for themselves a knowledge of God and thus realise for themselves the profundity of the worship they should undertake which they are free to do on the premises."
"It connotes to my mind a place of which the principal use is as a place where people come together as a congregation or assembly to do reverence to God. It need not be the God which the Christians worship. It may be another God, or an unknown God, but it must be reverence to a deity. There may be exceptions. For instance, Buddhist temples are properly described as places of meeting for religious worship. But, apart from exceptional cases of that kind, it seems to me the governing idea behind the words "place of meeting for religious worship" is that it should be a place for the worship of God. I am sure that would be the meaning attached by those who framed this legislation in 1855". (My emphasis)
Is Segerdal binding on "worship" by Scientologists?
The evidence of change since 1967
"Per Mason A.C.J. and Brennan J. For the purposes of the law, the criteria of religion are twofold: first, belief in a supernatural Being, Thing or Principle; and second, the acceptance of canons of conduct in order to give effect to that belief, though canons of conduct which offend against the ordinary laws are outside the area of any immunity, privilege or right conferred on the grounds of religion.
Per Wilson and Deane JJ. No single characteristic can be laid down as constituting a formularized legal criterion of whether a particular system of ides and practices constitutes a religion, but the following criteria are helpful: that the particular collection of ideas and/or practices involves belief in the supernatural, i.e. a belief that reality extends beyond that which is capable of perception by the senses; that the ideas relate to man's nature and place in the universe and his relation to things supernatural; that the ideas are accepted by adherents as requiring or encouraging them to observe particular standards or codes of conduct or to participate in specific practices having supernatural significance; that, however loosely knit and varying in beliefs and practices adherents may be, they constitute an identifiable group or groups; and that the adherents themselves see the collection of ideas and/or practices as constituting a religion.
Per Murphy J. The categories of religion are not closed, but the following bodies are religious: any body which claims to be religious and whose beliefs or practices are a revival of, or resemble, earlier cults; any body which claims to be religious and to believe in a supernatural Being or Beings, whether physical and visible, a physical invisible God or spirit, or an abstract God or entity; any body which claims to be religious and offers a way to find meaning and purpose in life.
Per curiam. The test of religion should not be confined to theistic religions."
"Ultimate salvation is dependent on increasing one's awareness and understanding of his true spiritual identity. Thus, Scientology is composed in equal parts of "training" and "auditing". As the religion not only expands knowledge of all aspects of life, but also details how and why man lost his spirituality and how to avoid this from recurring, it is vital for Scientologists to study the principle contained in the works of Mr Hubbard. This is training, and here one obtains the wisdom to understand who he is, what he is, where he comes from and his relationship to the universe. The application of that wisdom towards personal spiritual improvement comes through spiritual counselling – auditing.
Auditing is ministered by an auditor, a minister of the Church of Scientology. An auditor is defined as one who listens, taken from audire which means "to hear or listen".
Auditing is based on the principle that if an individual looks at his own existence, he can improve his ability to confront what he is and where he is, thereby ridding himself of past negative experiences.
Auditing uses processes – exact questions asked or directions given by an auditor to help a person locate areas of spiritual distress. There are many, many different auditing processes in Scientology, each one improving the individual's ability to confront and handle part of his existence and thus increasing his spiritual awareness and abilities across the dynamics. Whilst most auditing is delivered by an auditor to a parishioner on an individual basis, some processes are also suited to groups. In either case, whether ministered to groups or individuals, the benefits are significant."
Other submissions as to why Segerdal was not binding