Churches' Legislation Advisory Service (CLAS)
The Churches' Legislation Advisory Service (CLAS) began life in 1941 as the Churches Main Committee. It is a Judaeo-Christian ecumenical body bringing together the interests of Christian Churches and the Jewish community in their dealings with Government in all its aspects (other than education).
Its primary role is as a vehicle for conveying to the Government the views of the churches on legislation and other matters which directly affect them and likewise as a channel through which the Government can consult the churches as a whole on such matters.
"Government" includes local as well as central Government; Government in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the EU Commission in Brussels, as well as Westminster/Whitehall; and the CLAS also acts for the churches in their dealings with the major organisations (banks, water and electricity companies, etc) whose activities affect them. From time to time CLAS itself has sponsored legislation on matters of particular interest to it. A secondary, but no less important, function is to provide information on the impact on the churches of legislation and proposals for legislation, and, as appropriate, to act on behalf of churches and ministers of religion in seeking to cure anomalies and bring about a regime that is as fair as possible.
The subjects covered by CLAS range from taxation, heritage grants and charity law to marriage law, immigration rules, planning and building regulations and water charges, with much else besides. Circulars are issued free of charge, giving information and advice, to the denominational and other bodies which are members of CLAS. The Churches Main Committee formerly published a series of booklets on aspects of church management.