Pemberton v Inwood: licensing of C of E clergy and same sex marriage – a case-note

The Employment Tribunal has found for the respondent in Pemberton v Inwood, Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham [2015] ET 2600962/2014


Canon Jeremy Pemberton married Laurence Cunnington on 12 April 2014. Following subsequent correspondence and a meeting with the respondent, at that time Acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, (“the Bishop”), in June 2014 the respondent revoked Canon Pemberton’s Permission to Officiate in the diocese (PTO). Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust had offered Pemberton the post of Chaplaincy and Bereavement Manager; but in order to take it up he required a licence/authorisation (EPML) under the Extra-Parochial Ministry Measure 1967 (EPMM) from the Bishop – who refused to grant it [1]. He did so because he regarded Canon Pemberton’s marriage as contrary to the teachings and law of the Church of England [2]. Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust then withdrew its offer.

The claim

It was evidently common ground between the parties that Canon Pemberton was not employed by the Church and that he could not, therefore, bring a claim under s 39 (Employees and applicants) of the Equality Act 2010 [3]: instead, he brought a claim under s 53 (Qualifications bodies) [4]. He also brought a claim of harassment under s 53 in relation to what had happened [10]. Continue reading