Independent Case Review published – Oxford Diocese

On 12th December 2018, the Diocese of Oxford announced the establishment of an Independent Case Review of the diocesan safeguarding response to allegations of spiritual abuse in the case of the Revd Tim Davis. On 11 September 2020, the Diocese of Oxford published the Review’s findings, a summary of which is reproduced below.

Independent review published today

The Diocese of Oxford has today published a summary briefing and recommendations, along with the full report, from the independent review into the circumstances surrounding the complaint under CDM against the Revd Tim Davis.

In December 2017, the Revd Tim Davis was found guilty of conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders through the abuse of spiritual power and authority over a person then aged 15-16. A penalty imposed under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure (CDM) was immediate cessation of office and prohibition from the exercise of holy orders for a period of two years.

The Diocese of Oxford subsequently commissioned an independent review relating to the reporting, investigation and management of allegations and concerns about the conduct of Revd Davis. The review published today considers the timeline of concerns from within the parish about Revd Davis, delays and frustrations to achieving an acceptable disciplinary outcome, and the ongoing impact of CDM proceedings ‘which were less than satisfactory’.

The review, commissioned by the Bishop of Oxford, was carried out by Amanda Lamb, a specialist in service review and redesign of Children’s Social Care services, and Timothy Briden, barrister and Vicar General of the Province of Canterbury. The reviewers highlight considerable upset, suffering and delays incurred in bringing the matter before the Tribunal and make 11 recommendations for the Diocese and National Church. The recommendations encompass improved communications and pastoral care, appropriate assistance and support both to people pursuing a complaint and the respondent, and suggestions for changes to CDM practice and process.

Responding to the report, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, said: “On behalf of the Diocese of Oxford, I am very sorry indeed for the shortcomings identified in this case review and the harm these shortcoming have caused to a number of people. They have contributed to the distress of the survivors and the many people affected in Christ Church Abingdon. Though they had no bearing on the penalty, I also recognise the additional emotional toll that these shortcomings placed on Revd Tim Davis.

As a Diocese, we are deeply committed to learning from these events and to the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults. During the last four years, we have invested heavily in our safeguarding team, in training and safer processes of support, review and oversight. This report also contains lessons for the whole Church of England that are already being considered through greater awareness of spiritual abuse, the development of better safeguarding processes and the planned revision of the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM). In the meantime, the Diocese will be working to increase awareness of the CDM, and the advice and support people can expect to receive.”

Notes for editors


Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Independent Case Review published – Oxford Diocese" in Law & Religion UK, 11 September 2020,

5 thoughts on “Independent Case Review published – Oxford Diocese

        • I will probably need to write another post, but even the full report of the Independent Review is not entirely clear and needs some unpicking:

          “5.3 This was the first CDM case to have raised issues of spiritual abuse. It is important to note that the absence of the legal definition of spiritual abuse caused particular uncertainty to those involved in this case. There is still very little case law about this. Fortunately the Archdeacon had the assistance of [Redacted] an experienced ecclesiastical lawyer, who provided her with legal advice. This included the assessment of the evidence, the formulation of the complaint, and the handling of questions of confidentiality. Such assistance will not always be readily available. The Diocesan Registrar cannot provide it by reason of conflicting functions under the Measure. It is therefore essential that in potentially complex CDM cases like the present, dioceses should arrange and pay for competent legal advice for the benefit of archdeacons acting as complainants.”

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