Consistory court judgments and CFCE Determinations – July

This month’s round up of judgments and determinations concerning churches, cathedrals and churchyards

Our 27 January post reviewed the Church of England’s new guidance which aims to clarify the legal position regarding crematorium funerals and the payments to the clergy. This was, in part, prompted by the judgment Rouch v Hawthorne [2015] Winchester Disciplinary Tribunal, Bursell Ch, in relation to the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. The more recent case of the Revd Simon Reynolds in the Sheffield Crown Court is a reminder that criminal charges resulting in a custodial sentence can also be brought in such cases. Mr Reynolds was found guilty of stealing more than £24,000 in church fees for weddings and funerals, and at Sheffield Crown Court on 28 July, was sentenced by Judge Julian Goose QC to 30 months for stealing church fees and an additional two months for breaching his bail[1].

The relationship between civil and ecclesiastical law was also a feature of Re Twyford Cemetery, discussed below, which turned on the interpretation of the secular legislation. It was necessary for the Chancellor inform the petitioners that although the matter was being decided in an ecclesiastical court, their assertion that the situation has arisen as a result of what is referred to as “poor church administration” was incorrect. Continue reading