A post in November this year noted the agreement at General Synod on Monday 11 July 2022 to the Draft Amendments to the Code of Practice issued under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 (GS 2281). These amendments to the CDM Code of Practice provided for the publication of Penalties by Consent in addition to the listing of Tribunal Decisions already in the Church of England website.
Changes to the CDM CoP
Paragraph 8 of GS 2281 indicates that these amendments issued by the CDC “shall come into force on a date for issue appointed by the Clergy Discipline Commission”; in practice, this date was over three months later, on 24 October 2022. The page on the CofE website Penalties by Consent now records the penalties that have been imposed by a bishop or archbishop with the consent of the respondent under section 16 of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 and penalties that have been imposed under section 30 or 31.
In accordance with the amendments of the CDM Code of Practice, the following details are published: the name of the respondent, the date penalty was agreed or imposed and the statutory ground of misconduct. The name of the diocese will also be published.
The Guidance on Penalties issued by the Clergy Discipline Commission (last updated January 2021) indicates:
“Conditional deferment (by consent only): A conditional deferment means that the complaint is kept on file for up to five years, but no other action is taken on it by the bishop unless a further complaint of misconduct is made within that period”.
In many dioceses, the complaint is retained on their web page for five years.
The Right Reverend Peter Hullah
The penalty relating to The Right Reverend Peter Hullah was published before the date upon which the Commission’s policy came into force. The case had been settled on 1 August 2022, when the penalty of prohibition for life was agreed by consent, and having been highlighted by the Daily Mail in November 2022, was published on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website. Unlike subsequent cases, this gives a brief summary of the circumstances giving rise to the prohibition, rather than the section under the CDM under which the penalty was imposed.
Reporting on L&RUK
Penalties by consent will be included in the monthly reports of ecclesiastical judgments; the December report will include the penalties imposed on: The Revd Phil Grieg, Diocese: Canterbury, 7 December 2022; and The Revd Simon Matthews, Diocese of Leicester, 31 October 2022.
Acknowledgements to David Lamming for alerting us to the information provided by Conor Gannon, Secretary to the Clergy Discipline Commission.