top of page

Recognition of religion or belief in United Kingdom

According to the standards set out in the SRR, conditions for RoRB in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are classified restrictive.

Recognition of religion or belief in United Kingdom


  • Anglicanism is the state religion of England, Jersey, Guernsey, and Isle of Man; Calvinism, by way of the Church of Scotland, is Scotland’s national church (though not state religion); Wales, Northern Ireland, and remaining overseas territories remain secular.

  • Recognition and registration are differentiated, however, the former a existential recognition is provided only to Anglicanism by way of the Church of England while all other religious groups are left with only a semblance of recognition through registration as a charity which the Charity Commission has itself stated does not equate to government recognition of the belief system to which organisation classified as charitable is affiliated; in achieving charity status, there is a convoluted application process that applies narrow understandings of what religious belief is and also asks for conformity to the concept of “advancement of religion.”

  • There does not exist an official recognition system for belief systems.

  • Heavy reliance for any semblance of recognition is placed on the census and the Charity Commission’s designation as a charity and therefore tax-exempt.

  • Provisions are set out for the registration of individual places of worship.

  • Due to Anglicanism’s place as the state denomination, a situation of partial recognition is in effect as a result because although religious organisation may gain charity status, none have the opportunity to gain the same degree of recognition bestowed to Anglicanism.

  • The Equality Act 2010 protects, as religions, only the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Rastafarianism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism; humanism and atheism are given as examples of protected philosophical beliefs under this act.

  • Percolative recognition, whether this be for charity status or existential recognition, does not currently apply to UK overseas territories because firstly, those territories have their own registration procedures for charities and secondly, UK law itself does not provide distinct procedures for the registration or recognition of religious groups.

Positive elements:

  • Freedom of religion or belief is universally upheld in practice by the government.


  • Establish a formal recognition system to set out provisions for both existential recognition for belief systems, denominations, communities based on a shared belief identity and legal registration for parishes to add to the existent provisions for individual religious buildings.

  • To become dynamic, establish a recognition agency that is independent of government control but nonetheless reports to government and possesses the same authority as government in its area of speciality, namely the management of the religious recognition system.

RoRB Topic
RoRB Compliance
RoRB Classification
Country or territory
bottom of page