What is a “church” in English law?

In this guest post, Simon Hunter, of 13 Old Square Chambers, muses on the interesting question of what is a “church” for the purposes of English law?



In recent weeks and months there has been much soul-searching about the future of the Anglican Communion. The Primates’ communiqué may well be destined to please no-one – too liberal for the conservatives and too conservative for the liberals – and it may be that holding the Communion together is a Sisyphean task.

However, the discussions got me thinking about the nature of the Communion, and of communion. The Anglican Communion, quoting the 1930 Lambeth Conference, describes itself on its website as a “fellowship, within the one holy catholic and apostolic church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional churches in communion with the see of Canterbury.” This quotation itself raises an interesting question about what in this context and more broadly it means to be or to say “a church”. Continue reading