Research Handbook on Law and Religion
Show Less

Research Handbook on Law and Religion

Edited by Rex Ahdar

Offering an interdisciplinary, international and philosophical perspective, this comprehensive Research Handbook explores both perennial and recent legal issues that concern the modern state and its interaction with religious communities and individuals.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 21: The persistence of religious confession privilege

A Keith Thompson


The Ryan Commission in Ireland and the Royal Commission in Australia both addressed strident calls for the abolition of Religious Confession Privilege (RCP) in cases of suspected child sex abuse. But while the Australian Commission supported that recommendation, the Ryan Commission did not. Is this because less clerical abuse was uncovered in Ireland, or did the Irish Commission think such a recommendation futile? This chapter suggests that Jeremy Bentham’s unlikely nineteenth-century defence of RCP was soundly based and explains that the Australian Commission’s abolition recommendation offends the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Child abuse has declined rapidly since the state of Queensland enacted police vetting for all volunteers and employees from 1998, suggesting there are effective alternative measures. This chapter also reviews recent cases in the UK and the US and finds – counter-intuitively in the US – that the courts are preserving RCP despite popular attacks upon it.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.