ABOUT US Officers

President: Ana Maria Célis (Santiago, Chile)
Ana María Celis Brunet is an attorney at law, Professor and Director of the Center of Religious Liberty of the Facultad de Derecho at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Santiago). She obtained her law degree at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Santiago), and her Canon law degrees (ICL and ICD) at the Facoltà di Diritto Canonico of the Pontificia Università Gregoriana (Rome), where she also received a diploma in Giurisprudenza Matrimoniale Canonica. Since 2000 she has been teaching Canon law and also some courses on Church - State relations. She is the director of the Centro de Libertad Religiosa - Derecho UC that started in 2005 as a center for studying Church-State matters and promoting religious freedom. From 2005 she was also the secretary of the Consorcio Latinoamericano de Libertad Religiosa, of which she recently has been elected president.

Vice President: Mark Hill
Mark has more than twenty years experience of common law practice advising and representing clients in a broad range of cases including personal injury, professional negligence, rating, costs, trusts of land, property disputes and village greens. Against this wide background he has developed an expertise in the law of religious liberty and is recognized as the country's leading practitioner in ecclesiastical law. He is an Honorary Professor of Law at Cardiff University and formerly Visiting Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Mark is Honorary Professor at the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University; Extraordinary professor at the University of Pretoria; Visiting Professor at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King's College London and Adjunct Professor at Notre Dame University, Sydney and is Ecumenical fellow in Canon Law at the Venerable English College in Rome. He was elected a Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in 2011 and appointed President of the European Consortium for Church and State Research in 2012. He sits as a Recorder on the Midland Circuit in criminal, civil and family cases, is a qualified Mediator was a legal assessor to the Fitness to Practise Panel of the General Medical Council (2008-2015). He regularly publishes and lectures on matters of Church and State and was a contributing editor for Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law (2010).


Steering Committee

Juan G. Navarro Floria (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Graduate in law with honors from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina, he teaches Civil Law and Law and Religion at the same University. He has founded, together whit other professors, the Latin American Consortium for Religious Freedom, where he had served as President. He is also founder and past President of the Argentine Council for Religious Freedom (CALIR). He has been Chief Advisor at the Secretariat of Religious Affairs in the Argentine Federal Government. He has published books and many academic articles in his field, at home and abroad. He is editorial consultant for the journals “Anuario de Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado” (Spain), “Revista General de Derecho Canónico y Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado” (Spain), “Derecho y Religión” (Spain) and member of the Academic Board of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) at Brigham Young University (USA). He is also member of the National Commission “Justice and Peace” at the Argentine Conference of Bishops (Catholic Church). 

Asher Maoz (Tel-Aviv, Israel)
Asher Maoz is the Founding Dean of the Peres Academic Center Law School. He was for many years on the Faculty of Law at Tel-Aviv University, where he taught Constitutional Law, State and Religion, Freedom of Speech, Family Law and Succession Law. Professor Maoz holds the degrees LL.B. and LL.M., both summa cum laude (Hebrew University), M. Comp. L. (University of Chicago), J.S.D. (Tel-Aviv University) and Doctor Honoris Causa (Ovidius University, Romania). He is founding Editor-in-chief of Law, Society and Culture; former editor, Tel-Aviv University Law Review; member of the Scientific Board, Review Dionysina; Member of the Academic Council of The International Academy for Jewish Leadership; Chair, Law Commission for Journalists’ Privileges; served as academic advisor to the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on adopting a constitution for the State of Israel; and serves on many other organizations. Has taught at several universities in the United States, Europe, and Australia, and is the author of numerous publications on the intersections of law and religion.

Pieter Coertzen (Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Pieter Coertzen is a retired professor of Ecclesiology (Church Law and Church History) at the University of Stellenbosch. He was also the Church Law Advisor (Actuarius) of the General Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church from 1994 – 2004. Through his research he became involved in the drafting of a South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms and was the Chairperson of a Conference in Johannesburg in 2010 where the Charter was endorsed by the major religions in South Africa. He was elected as chairperson of the newly established SA Council for the Promotion and Protection of Religious Rights and Freedoms. He is currently involved in the establishment of a Unit for the Study of Law and Religion within the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology in the Faculty of Theology in co-operation with the Faculty of Law at the University of Stellenbosch. He has published extensively in the field of Church Law. His book Decently and in Order – a Theological reflection on the Order for, and the Order in, the Church was published by Peeters, Leuven in 2004. He has also published widely on the Huguenots of South Africa. Some of his latest articles in this field are The Edict of Nantes and Freedom of Religion; The Huguenots of South Africa in History, and Memory and The Huguenots of South Africa in Memory and Commemoration. He teaches a course in Comparative Canon Law at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium every year.

Tahir Mahmood
Tahir Mahmood is a veteran law professor of India. After spending about three decades in Delhi University Law Faculty and eventually serving as its Dean, he moved to Amity University where he is designated as “Distinguished Jurist Chair, Professor of Eminence and Chairman, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.”
At different times since 1996 he has been on deputation to the Government of India, as Chairman of the National Minorities Commission and Member of three other high-level bodies -- National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Backward Classes among Minorities, and the Law Commission of India.
His major interest areas are religion-state relations, Islamic law and other family laws, on which subjects he has written many books including the following.
1. Laws of India on Religion and Religious Affairs (2008)
2. Religion, Law and Society across the Globe (2013)
3. Reminiscing on Law Brains: Bench, Bar and Academia (2014)
4. Principles of Hindu Law: Personal Law of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs (2014)
5. Amid Gods and Lords: Living through Labyrinths of Religion and Law (2nd edition 2015)
6. Minorities Commission 1978-2015: Minor Role in Major Affairs (2nd edition 2016)
7. Muslim Law in India and Abroad (2nd edition 2016)
His books on family laws have been cited in over fifty judgments of the Supreme Court and various High Courts of India.
He is a member of the Advisory Board of International Centre for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University in US, Steering Committee of Italy-based International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, and Saudi Arabia’s Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs.

Brett G. Scharffs
Brett G. Scharffs, Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law at Brigham Young University Law School, was appointed Director of the Law School's International Center for Law and Religion Studies effective May 1, 2016. He had served the Center as Associate Director and Regional Advisor for Asia since 2009 and served the Law School as both Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum. Professor Scharffs' teaching and scholarly interests include law and religion, legal reasoning and rhetoric, philosophy of law, and legislation and regulation. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he received a BSBA in international business and an MA in philosophy. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he earned a BPhil in philosophy. He received his JD from Yale Law School, where he was Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Javier Martínez-Torrón
Javier Martínez-Torrón has been a professor of law (Catedrático) at Complutense University of Madrid since 2000. Formerly a professor at the University of Granada (1993 - 2000), his areas of interest are comparative law, law and religion, marriage law and canon law. In these areas he has published extensively in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. He has taught or lectured at numerous universities and international conferences in the five continents. He has developed part of his research at various universities in Europe and America, such as Cambridge, Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, Freiburg, and Stanford, among others. He is co-founder and co-editor of the Revista General de Derecho Canónico y Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado (2003), the first electronic legal periodical in Spain specialized on Church-State relations and canon law. He is vice president of the canon law and law-and-religion section of the Spanish Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation, and honorary foreign member of the National Academy of Law and Social Sciences of Córdoba (Argentina). He is a member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, and a former member of the OSCE/ODIHR Advisory Council on Freedom of Religion or Belief (2005-20013) and the Advisory Commission on Religious Freedom in the Spanish Ministry of Justice (2002-2014).

Alessandro Ferrari
Alessandro Ferrari is associate professor in the Department of Law and Economics of Firms and Persons at the Università degli Studi dell’Insubria. He did his PhD at the University of Milan (1999) and at the University of Paris XI (2003). His main research interests are: Church and State issues in Italy and West Europe; French laïcité; Secularism and Civil religion; Democracy and Religion; Islam in Italy and in Europe; Comparative Law of Religions.


Secretariat and Website Director


Cristiana   Cianitto


Past Presidents


W. Cole Durham, Jr. ( Provo, U.S.A.)
Multiple honors have come to W. Cole Durham, Jr., including a university professorship, appointment as co-chair of the OSCE Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the International First Freedom Award from the First Freedom Center of Richmond Virginia, an honorary doctorate from Ovidius University in Constanţa, Romania, and service as vice president of the International Academy for Freedom of Religion and Belief. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Professor Durham has been heavily involved in comparative constitutional law and church-state relations throughout his career. He has published widely on Comparative Law, and he currently serves as the chair of both the Comparative Law Section and the Law and Religion Section of the American Association of Law Schools. He is a member of several U.S. and international advisory boards dealing with religious freedom and church-state relations.

Silvio Ferrari (Milan, Italy) - Life Honorary President
Professor at the Universities of Milan, where he teaches Law and Religion and Canon Law. He has been visiting professor in Paris (École Pratique des Hautes Études) and Berkeley (University of California) and has worked for many international organizations, including the European Union. He has founded, together with other professors, the European Consortium for Church and State Research. Professor Ferrari is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Institut européen en sciences des religions (EPHE, Paris) and of the Board of Expert of the International Religious Liberty Association (Silver Spring, Maryland); he is co-editor in chief of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion. His main fields of interest are Law and Religion; Comparative Law of Religions (in particular Jewish Law, Canon Law and Islamic Law); Relations between Israel and the Vatican.



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