Recent queries and comments – late March

More answers to readers’ queries and comments

Below is a further compilation of “Quick Answers” to questions which have arisen from searches of, or comments during the past couple of weeks, providing links to our blog posts addressing these issues.

As before, the topics covered in these occasional posts do not necessarily represent our most-read blogs, but reflects the current interests of readers accessing the site on (mostly) contemporary issues.

General searches

Question Quick Answer L&RUK Answer
Do retired priests wear dog collars. Some do, some don’t. It’s a sign of their ordination, not their permission to officiate. Clerical attire, officiants and safeguarding, (150209).
clerical abuse No statutory definition of term, but considered by recent CDM tribunal. Clerical abuse of spiritual power and authority, (180109)
Campbell and Casans v united kingdom article 9 Not a case on which we’ve reported, but a summary is here …and see #13 of The human rights cases absolutely everyone should know about, (150226).
minster churches in England “an honorific title bestowed on major churches of regional significance in the Church of England, to reflect their importance and contribution to the local communities they serve”. Abp Sentamu. Churches, Minsters and Cathedrals, Legal distinctions between the designation of Church of England churches, (161117).
Shakespeare buried in wall Not exactly. Suggestion, that a skull in the crypt of St Leonard Beoley was his, dismissed as Gothic fiction. See Shakespeare’s Skull – Church court rejects Gothic fiction (151104), and Shakespeare’s missing skull – the mystery deepens, (160324).
can you bury a person in your garden. In principle, yes, but subject to conditions. Back-garden burials? (14/12/10) and Groundwater pollution from cemeteries (170324) on new EA position statement (L4).
is it law in England that organs can be removed when you die unless you opt out. Not yet, subject to  (closed) consultation. Under consideration by government. Introducing ‘opt-out’ consent for organ and tissue donation in England, (171212).
 uk law on baby names Naming Children: England and Wales, 2013, (140815).
deposition of holy orders Safeguarding, the C of E and deposition from orders, (170713).
why can’t you get married or buried if you are not christened Both of these assumptions are incorrect in relation to the Church of England. Christening is not required in either circumstance. See: I’m not christened – can I have a church wedding? and Can anyone have a Church of England funeral?,
three parent embryos uk law “Three-parent babies” in UK from 2018?, (170316).
st john the evangelist penshurst [2015] court of arches Re St. John the Baptist Penshurst [2015] Court of Arches  Although appeal successful, Arches Court reconsidered and approved petition for the removal of the Victorian eight-bay screen.
can a parish council give grants to repair church roofs? This is an on-going dispute, which has not yet been settled. May a parish council grant-aid a place of worship? (170307), and Local Authority Investment in church property, (180308).

Q&A on other areas of ecclesiastical law

Canon Law Made Easy, Cathy Caridi

Can a Priest Refuse to Hear Your Confession if He Knows You? Not normally: only in certain circumstances. Two typical cases considered.

Links to sources of frequently sought data

For those not yet familiar with the architecture of the Church of England’s revised web site, we have posted some quick links to areas of potential interest to ecclesiastical lawyers (and clergy), here, (law & policy); here, (clergy and General Synod) and here, (legal opinions and other guidance).

Unless marked §, the questions are the search terms used, verbatim; questions arising externally to the blog, (twitter/other), are marked ‡; the dates in parentheses are in the format (yymmdd). As stated in our General Terms and Conditions, at L&RUK we do not give legal advice, or purport to do so.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Recent queries and comments – late March" in Law & Religion UK, 31 March 2018,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *