Ecclesiastical court judgments – April

Review of the ecclesiastical court judgments during April 2019

April’s consistory court judgments have included:

This summary also includes links to other posts relating to ecclesiastical law.

Note: the neutral citation for Re Christ Church Laxey [2018] ECC IOM 1 has been changed and is now Re Christ Church Laxey [2018] ECC Sodor 1. All references to the case on L&RUK have been changed accordingly.

Reordering, extensions & other building works



Reordering and alternative uses

Re Christ Church Laxey [2019] EC Sodor 1  The Vicar and churchwardens of the parish of Laxey and Lonan sought two faculties to enable Christ Church to fulfil an additional purpose as well as being the parish church for the village; the Laxey Village Heritage Trust is being established in order to link the various historic sites in the village, including the church, into a historical narrative to enable visitors to understand the importance of Laxey’s mining not just locally but in the wider context of Victorian industrialisation. The intention is that Christ Church will serve as a welcome centre for visitors who wish to explore the various heritage trails around the village [1-3].

The church is one of the Isle of Man’s Registered Buildings (entry no. 85, registered on 21st January 1986); unlike the position in England, works to a registered building in the Isle of Man which is subject to the faculty jurisdiction require the consent of the Department of Infrastructure in addition to a faculty in order to be carried out. The Registered Buildings Officer indicated to the Applicants that the Department was content with the proposals. Likewise, no objections were raised in response to he public notices [6-7] .

The first petition related to a digital display board to be installed on the north wall of the nave, and to be used for notices, for showing films about the history of village and as an aid to worship on appropriate occasions. The second application sought permission to install two secure moveable cabinets in the south west corner of the church and two moveable desks at the rear of the church, the cabinets to be used to store merchandise for supplies and sales to visitors, one of the desks is to be used to display information for visitors and the other to enable Manx craftspeople to sell their merchandise.

Given the church’s registration, Deputy Vicar General of the Diocese of Sodor and Man,  Howard Connell, was obliged to address the questions set out in Re St Alkmund Duffield [2013] Fam 158 [8]. With regard to the first application, although the  Diocesan Advisory Committee has recommended it in its entirety, the Deputy Vicar General was content to permit a faculty to issue in respect of it. In respect of the modified application [11]. There were no such reservations for the second application [12]. Faculties were granted for both applications, although that for the first application did not permit the installation of the lecterns in the chancel [13]. [Re Christ Church Laxey [2019] EC Sodor 1] [Back] [Top].

Other building works, including re-roofing

Re Christ Church Spitalfields [2019] EACC 2 Order for costs. [Re Christ Church Spitalfields 2019] EACC 2 Order and Costs] [Back] [Top]. 

Re All Saints Bishop Burton [2019] ECC Yor 6 The petition proposed the following works of reordering: (1) install access ramp to south door (2) introduce entrance lobby to south entrance (3) remove 2 pews at west end of south aisle and install disabled WC (4) re-order west end (5) upgrade kitchen facilities and (5) install a trench arch system with gravel and paved pathway over. There were objections to the moving of the pews and the access to the WC. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners have made out a case for their proposals and he accordingly granted a faculty. [Re All Saints Bishop Burton [2019] ECC Yor 6] [Back] [Top]


Errors in burial

Re St. Paul Rusthall [2019] ECC Roc 1 A faculty was granted to permit the exhumation of the cremated remains of the petitioner’s father and reinter them in the same churchyard in the grave of his mother, who had died subsequently. Citing Re Blagdon Cemetery the Chancellor observed that the petitioners have acted as speedily as they could, and that any lapse of time is not due to any neglect or default on their parts, or on that of their late mother; mistake, precedent, and the desirability of encouraging family graves [20].

He stated that in his judgement, a mistake has occurred;  it may have been on the part of the retired priest who conducted the service at the crematorium in what he said, and if so he was wholly satisfied that the mistake was an innocent one. More likely, and alternatively, the Chancellor suspected that the mistake was on the part of the retired priest, again innocently, in not identifying precisely what was wanted by the family, and/or in then not making it clear what was needed to achieve that. Further, in the alternative, there was a misunderstanding by all the Martin family, amounting to a mistake, as to what they could or could not do [21]. He was further satisfied that the mistake was operative on the minds of all the family of the deceased, and in particular on the mother of the petitioner, when she came to make her will, and to her final decision on whether she should be buried or cremated [22].

In these very particular circumstances, the Chancellor was satisfied that this is a case where he could take an exceptional course, and authorize the exhumation of the cremated remains of the petitioner’s father so that they may be reinterred in the grave plot where the mortal remains of his more recently deceased wife have been interred.  [Re St. Paul Rusthall [2019] ECC Roc 1] [Back] [Top].

Churchyards and burials

Environmental Permit

Parochial Church Council of St Stephen’s Church: environmental permit application, BA9 8ES, (17 April 2109) The Environment Agency has received a new bespoke application for an environmental permit under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 from The Parochial Church Council of St Stephen’s Church, Application number EPR/MB3891WN/A001. This is for the discharge of 0.5 cubic metres per day to groundwater at ST 72010 29917 via a trench arch system.

Links to other posts

Recent summaries of specific issues that have been considered in the consistory courts include:



CFCE Determinations

The dates of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England may be found by scrolling down to the bottom of the page Cathedrals Fabric Commission. This also includes the applications that the commission examined, the decisions made by the commission. Information relating to the meeting on 31 January is here (Form 8) and here (Form 10). A link to the applications considered at the meeting on 28 March is here.

The next meeting of the CFCE will be on Thursday 30 May 2019. [top]

Notes on the conventions used in these posts are summarized here.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Ecclesiastical court judgments – April" in Law & Religion UK, 1 May 2019,

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