Forms of Objection in Faculty Proceedings

Earlier posts, here and here, have considered various aspects of “sufficient interest” in faculty proceedings under S10(1) and S10(2) Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 (as amended) [1]. In a timely segue to these considerations, in Re St. Michael Chiswick [2024] ECC Lon 1 Etherington Ch. summarized the forms of objection in Faculty Proceedings [2]; these are reproduced below.  

Forms of Objection in Faculty Proceedings

3 In faculty proceedings before the Consistory Court, objection to a faculty may be registered in one of two ways. They are now set out in the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 as amended (“the FJR”). The rules are set out in Part 10.

a) First, not everyone is permitted to have their objection considered by the court and anyone seeking to have an objection considered must fall into one of the eight categories set out in rule 10 (1). I am satisfied that the Objectors in this case do fall into one or more of the categories set out and that each one is therefore an “interested person”.

b) An interested person’s objection will be considered by the court provided they state the basis on which they are an interested person, and the grounds on which objection is made and where the objection is made within the time limit set out in rule 6.3of the FJR or such period of time as the court has directed. I am satisfied that this has happened here.

c) At that stage, the objector becomes a registered Objector. I use a capital ‘O’ at this point (although the rules do not) in order to distinguish an Objector (accepted by the court as validly objecting to the proposals) from an “objector” in its general sense.

d) All Objectors are offered two ways of proceeding. Either they may become a formal party to the proceedings, known as a Party Opponent, or they may leave me to take their objection into account without becoming a formal party. There is a third option, not specifically offered by the rules but one which obviously follows logically, namely not to reply at all. The way I deal with this third category is nevertheless to consider the objection as if the Objector had taken the second option (not to become a Party Opponent but to leave me to take their objection(s) into account) unless the Objector withdraws the objection(s) altogether.

e) There are differences between what a Party Opponent, on the one hand, and what an Objector, on the other, may do. A Party Opponent is entitled to take a full part in the proceedings; an Objector is not. This means that a Party Opponent may be heard in court at any stage of the proceedings, make written representations, if that is appropriate, may introduce relevant and admissible written evidence, and (in an oral hearing) test the Petitioners’ evidence and give and call oral evidence. An Objector, however, is confined to having the letter already submitted taken into account.

f) An Objector cannot be made subject to an order for costs. A Party opponent may be liable for costs, although only in very rare circumstances where the Party Opponent has behaved unreasonably (and, in practice, very unreasonably and usually after warnings have been ignored).

4. These are important differences, but they relate to procedure and the extent to which submissions and evidence may be made or called, explored and tested. The force (or otherwise) of the objection itself is the same whichever option is chosen. I can well understand why people do not want to become emmeshed (as they may see it) in an ecclesiastical court hearing but see themselves as having what they consider to be a valid objection to a faculty petition and want the judge to take this into account – particularly as the objection may relate to, or may rely on facts associated with, matters that may not otherwise have been apparent to the court.”


[1] These related to Re St. Lawrence Toot Baldon [2023] ECC Oxf 10 in which a confirmatory faculty was sought for an unauthorized leger stone; and Re St. Nicholas Leicester [2023] ECC Lei 3, an on-going  faculty application for the introduction of a new altar frontal in the form of a Progress Pride image.

[2] On 3 November 2023, Etherington Ch. granted a faculty nisi for the replacement of 209 existing Ladderback Pilgrim chairs with 120 new Abbey chairs from Trinity Church furniture. He judged that, in the absence of objection, that the Petition should be granted. This was, however, conditional on there being no objection at the time when the period for public notice expired. In the event notices of objection were received within the specified time from eight people who did not wish to become parties opponent.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Forms of Objection in Faculty Proceedings" in Law & Religion UK, 30 January 2024,

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