Recent consistory court judgments – June

The judgments in June included cases relating to reordering“church treasures” and other salesexhumation and churchyards and burial. The relatively uncontroversial complete demolition of an unlisted church and its replacement by a new building was considered in Re St. Philip the Evangelist Dorridge, whilst Re St. Michael & All Angels Stockton will be of interest, both technically and legally, to churches having pre-Victorian roof tiles in need of replacement.

The unexpected return of the small corpus from a crucifix following its theft from Coombes Parish Church led to a consideration of its future safe-keeping; in  Gorilla’s head leads to return of church relic we supplemented the consistory court judgment with a summary of the complex police investigation, initiated by the enforcement of environmental regulations. The earlier Re St. Michael & All Angels Stockton also considered what was regarded as a “church treasure” – in fact none of the items considered in this case.

In Re St. Paul Woodhouse Eaves the chancellor determined that in the absence of a bishop during a vacancy in see, he could authorise the installation of an aumbry in the church. In Re All Saints Shawell the petitioners sought the disposal of “children’s pews” of varying sizes, and unusually the chancellor made proposals “not suggested in the paperwork on this petition” for consideration by the petitioners and their architect.

The shortest and possibly least controversial judgment of the month, Re St Michael Cornhill, was perhaps one of the most significant since it granted permissions for the burial of ashes within the church crypt. As in May, an older case was made available in electronic form in view of current interest in the issues under consideration – in this case, access to premises adjoining a churchyard. Re St. Martin le Grand York [1988] York Const. Ct, Coningsby Ch. is also reported at [1990] Fam 63 but before readers rush to download the case from the ELA web site, they should be aware that the judgment is 96 pages long and the file is ~8MB in size

This month we have also posted on Churchyard Regulations – the practicalities of enforcement, the Risks of disregarding the faculty jurisdiction and proposals for An end to quinquennial inspections?

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