Employment Tribunal Claim – Christ Church, Oxford

On 21 August 2019, we posted Tribunal outcome: Christ Church, Oxford following the announcement by Christ Church, Oxford; this concerned the outcome of the college tribunal relating to the complaint raised in September 2018 against the Dean, The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy. Recent claims for damages by Professor Percy to the Employment Tribunal have generated media comment, summarized by Thinking Anglicans. Below we have reproduced the official statements issued by Christ Church and by the Diocese of Oxford; these are available here and here respectively. 


Christ Church statement in response to media interest 14 Feb 2020

In response to recent media interest, we can confirm that we are in receipt of two Employment Tribunal claims from the Dean of Christ Church. We are all too conscious that a disagreement over pay and remuneration with the Dean has led, over the last two years, to significantly-heightened tensions between him and Governing Body. Personal relationships have undoubtedly suffered, and we all regret this deeply.  We take our responsibilities towards all members of our community very seriously, and believe that we have acted in the best interests of Christ Church, including its students and staff.

While the specific matters being raised by the Dean should be left to the Employment Tribunal to consider, the Governing Body remains committed to achieving a satisfactory resolution. Christ Church expects members to show respect towards one another at all times, but equally we acknowledge that individuals are entitled to their personal opinions. Frustrations conveyed about – but not to – the Dean, exacerbated by the dispute over his pay, were in the past expressed in some private emails. However, mediation with the Dean, funded by Christ Church, resumed in November 2019 and is now ongoing. We very much hope that we can find a way forward through this process, and avoid considerable further cost.


Diocese of Oxford

Sunday 16 February: following media reports this weekend the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, has issued this statement:

“Martyn is a close and valued colleague, widely respected across the Diocese of Oxford and the wider Church. What happens next is for the employment tribunal to determine, but it is never too late to begin a process of reconciliation. This will require acknowledgement of responsibility, and also transparency on all sides. Recent events, while painful, are but a moment in the lifetime of this historic and unique dual foundation which contributes so much to the University and to the Diocese of Oxford. My thoughts and prayers are with all involved.”

+Steven Oxford


Comment

As we noted earlier, the Bishop of Oxford has explained “Christ Church is a complex institution and, uniquely in the Church of England, the Dean is also Head of an Oxford College”. The complaint relating to Professor Percy related to a college governance matter on which the Governing Body and Chapter instigated the review by an independently chaired internal tribunal”. The Church of England was not involved in the tribunal and there was no question of a clergy disciplinary measure. The above statement from Christ Church was made on behalf of the College (“the House”) rather than the Cathedral.

Update

On 18 February, The Times reported that at a preliminary hearing at a court in Amersham, the parties were informed that on account of the complexities of the case and a shortage of judges, there would not be a full hearing until late in 2021

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Employment Tribunal Claim – Christ Church, Oxford" in Law & Religion UK, 17 February 2020, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2020/02/17/employment-tribunal-claim-christ-church-oxford/

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