In 1829 the Catholic Emancipation Act was passed in the United Kingdom. In the minds of many at the time it was unconstitutional insofar as the sovereign was both the spiritual and political head of the people and as such there was no way in which Catholic's could submit fully to the crown. On the other hand, it seems more appropriate to see it as a broadening of the crown's power and a liberalization of the understanding of it's role. No longer would it be the case that English civil religion would be equated with one particular cultic form but instead the way was opened to embrace ever wider forms of cultic practice under the spiritual direction of the crown and thereby sublimate them to Englishness. In this way the law and rule of England came to be more uniformly and systematically applied to its citizens, eliminating a situation in which Catholic's existed at a lower or marginal level within the English state.
The existence of parallel courts of law at the peripheries of the English legal system is a return to the days prior to 1829 when it was recognized that there were those citizens and permanent residents of the nation who could never really be English and who did not reside within the fullness of English law. Rowan Williams, who currently has his plate full presiding over the dissolution of the Church of England, may well be presiding over the dissolution of 1829 and the liberal English state as well.