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Liberty IntactHuman Rights in English Law$
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Michael Tugendhat

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790990

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198790990.001.0001

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Conscience, Religion, Association, Assembly, Petition, and Duties

Conscience, Religion, Association, Assembly, Petition, and Duties

(p.147) 11 Conscience, Religion, Association, Assembly, Petition, and Duties
Liberty Intact

Michael Tugendhat

Oxford University Press

Freedom of conscience and religion was recognized by the common law but not respected by Parliament until the repeal in the nineteenth century of the penal laws discriminating against non-Protestants. Innocent priests were convicted of treason. James II suspended the penal laws claiming to impose religious equality. The Bill of Rights 1689 prohibited the suspension of laws, but Parliament enshrined religious discrimination. In the eighteenth century judges gave effect to freedom of religion by highly restrictive interpretations of penal laws. Freedom of assembly and association developed from the right to petition kings and Parliament, which sometimes involved violence. Social and economic rights to subsistence, were recognized in English Poor Laws and in public law, and in the Virginia Declaration. Duties corresponding to rights were recognized in legislation or by the common law, such as Donoghue v Stevenson, which imposed liability for negligence to enforce the right to personal security.

Keywords:   freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, right of petition, duties, James II, Declaration of Indulgence, Bill of Rights 1689

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