Neutral Citations

On 23 December 2015, the Dean of Arches issued a Practice Note requesting Diocesan Registrars to allocate a neutral citation to each Consistory Court judgment. A revised version of the original Practice Note was issued on 27 April 2016. Both Practice Notes can be downloading by clicking on these links:
Practice Note No. 1 of 2015
Practice Note No. 1 of 2016
Neutral citations are only being applied to judgments from 1 January 2016. Prior to that date, the ELA's own method of citation was used.

Those submitting judgments should not that a neutral citation number should appear in the top left corner of a judgment, in the format set out in Practice Note 1 above.

Judgments are as supplied by the relevant Diocesan Registries, but we cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent minor amendments which have not been communicated to us. Anyone wishing to quote from a judgment should check with the relevant Diocesan or Provincial Registrar that the version on this web site is the final version.

Judgment Search

Judgments Recently Received

Click on a citation to open or download a judgment.

Re St. Mary Ashford [2018] ECC Can 3

As part of the Ashford Borough Council's Ashford Snowdogs art trail, there was a proposal to place in the churchyard a statute of a brightly painted dog. There was one objector, a parishioner whose house overlooked the churchyard, who objected to the installation on aesthetic grounds. As the proposal was that the dog would only be in the churchyard for 10 days, the Commissary General considered that, in view of the community benefits of the project, the installation's presence would be so transitory as to make the diminution of the Church’s setting insignificant. She accordingly granted a faculty allowing the installation for 10 days.

Re St. John-in-Bedwardine Worcester [2018] ECC Wor 3

The petition related to the disposal of an upright piano, which was beyond repair and the installation of a grand piano, which was a gift from a local arts charity. The installation of the grand piano had already been authorised by an Archdeacon's temporary licence and the petition sought approval for the installation to remain permanent. There were two objectors, who did not become parties opponent. The Diocesan Advisory Committee approved the proposals and all but one member of the Parochial Church Council (one of the objectors) voted in favour. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

Re All Saints Rothbury [2018] ECC New 3

The petition proposed various works to the church roof and other parts of the fabric. The only contentious item was the proposal to fix a safety rope in the spiral staircase of the tower. The church architect proposed a rope running down the outer radius of the staircase, because there was an electrical cable conduit running down the inner radius. The objector, on behalf of local bellringers, objected to an outer rope, which would tend to make users walk towards the narrower part of the very narrow staircase. The Chancellor granted a faculty for a safety rope running down the inner radius, with fixing points at intervals, which would not force users towards the narrow part of the treads and would mean it would be less likely that people might grab the electrical conduit for support.

Re Cheshunt Cemetery (No.2) [2018] EACC 4

The Dean of Arches granted leave to appeal against the decision of the Deputy Chancellor in Re Cheshunt Cemetery (No. 2) [2018] ECC StA 2 not to allow the exhumation of the cremated remains of the petitioners' baby son. Leave was granted on two grounds: (a) the Deputy Chancellor was wrong ... to categorise the Appellants’ case as “one of change of mind rather than a (potentially operative) type of mistake ... namely a lack of understanding as to the significance of interment in consecrated ground”; and (b) the Deputy Chancellor thereby failed to consider whether this mistake was capable of constituting exceptional circumstances within the law as laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam. 299 and/or to explain why this was not so.

Re St. Nicholas Guisborough [2018] ECC Yor 6

The proposal was to retain permanently a Hauptwerk digital organ (belonging to Wakefield Cathedral), which was introduced into the church under an Archdeacon’s Licence for temporary minor re-ordering. The church already had a faculty in place for the removal and disposal of the pipe organ, with the proviso of having a suitable replacement option. Although the Diocesan Advisory Committee did not recommend the proposal, the Chancellor granted a faculty: "I am satisfied that the petitioners have discharged the burden on them of displacing the presumption that the Harrison and Harrison organ should be replaced with a pipe-organ. I am satisfied that they have considered the merits and demerits of alternatives to their preferred Hauptwerk solution, particularly the relative costs, and that their proposal is in all the circumstances a reasonable one in terms of their wishes, needs and resources."

Re St. Saviour Ringley [2018] ECC Man 3

The parents of a stillborn baby wished to erect on their baby's grave a heart-shaped blue pearl granite stone memorial measuring 27 inches by 21 inches by 3 inches. Stars were to be etched into the edge of the memorial and a heart etched underneath the proposed inscription. There were three other heart-shaped memorials in the churchyard, which had not been authorised by faculty in accordance with the churchyards regulations, but the Chancellor decided that this did not justify him granting a faculty for a further heart-shaped memorial.

Re All Saints Cawood [2018] ECC Yor 5

The Vicar and Churchwarden sought permission to remove and dispose of six pews from the rear area of the church in order to establish a flexible area for use for various activities, and also to erect an additional plaque directly under the present War Memorial wall plaque in order to add ten missing names. The Chancellor had already, on application, granted an interim faculty for the memorial plaque, so that it could be completed prior to the war centenary commemorations. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made out a case for the removal of the pews and granted a faculty.

Re St. Thomas Trowbridge [2018] ECC Sal 1

The petition proposed a substantial reordering, to include: replacement of the remaining pews and some green upholstered chairs with metal framed chairs upholstered in neutral-coloured fabric; the lowering of the timber pew platforms to create a level floor in the nave; the removal of some of the chancel furniture; new lighting and audio-visual equipment; and various repairs. The Chancellor granted a faculty for the majority of the items, but was not prepared for the lectern and reader's desk to be removed, being part of the church's set of liturgical furniture. He also required that once the worn carpet on the chancel step had been removed, the step should remain uncovered.

Re St. Mary Lydiard Tregoz [2018] ECC Bri 3

An extensive programme of reordering was proposed, to include: re-roofing and stonework repairs; new drains and soakaways; repair and realignment of pews; conservation of paintings and monuments; new lighting; removal of some pews; and relocation of the boiler to the churchyard, to create a vestry. The Church Buildings Council had a number of serious reservations about the proposals, which were rebutted by the petitioners. The Chancellor rejected the Council's concerns and granted a faculty.

Re All Saints Sanderstead [2018] ECC Swk 4

The petitioners wished to remove seven rows of pews in the north aisle of the church and replace them with some existing upholstered chairs in storage, in order to allow a more flexible use of the space. The Victorian Society objected that the upholstered chairs were not suitable for the Grade I listed church. The Chancellor concluded that the introduction of the chairs would cause only moderate harm to the church, and that this harm would be outweighed by the resulting public benefit. He accordingly granted a faculty.

Re St. Andrew Kettleburgh [2017] ECC SEI 4

A faculty was sought for reordering, which included works to the south porch and the west end of the nave of the Grade I listed church, including the repositioning of three rows of pews and adjustment of floor levels. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Great Somerford [2018] ECC Bri 2

Reordering proposals included: tiling; redecoration; creation of a coffee area by removing five pews; modification to the font; removal of choir stalls; accessible lavatory; a galley kitchen; removal of further pews to create a new vestry; some new stackable, upholstered chairs; and renewal of the heating and electrical systems. The small aging congregation of the church wished to increase the flexibility of use of the church and thus increase the numbers of those who attend church. The Chancellor was satisfied that the proposals, if implemented, would result in little if any significant harm to the church as a building of special architectural or historical interest, and accordingly granted a faculty.

Re St. John the Baptist Bamford and Derwent [2018] ECC Der 3

The Petitioners wished to remove four pews, two from each side of the main aisle of the church nave, in order to provide a larger space for nave communions and village events, such as concerts. The Chancellor decided that any harm to the significance of the Grade II* listed building by the proposed removal would be ‘low’, but he only authorised the removal of three of the pews, as he considered that the removal of the fourth pew would provide very little extra space.

Re St. John the Baptist Hillmorton [2017] ECC Cov 9

The petition proposed the reordering of the west end of the church, including: adding a ceiling to the vestry; replacing the current extension with a larger extension containing two toilets and baby-changing facilities; removing one row of pews in the nave; and removing two pews under the organ gallery and installing in their stead a servery/kitchenette and seating area; and works in the south aisle by way of the repositioning of an effigy. The Georgian Society and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings objected to the removal of two pews from under the organ gallery. The Chancellor was satisfied that any harm caused by the proposed works to the church’s special significance was only moderate, and he granted a faculty.

Re St. John the Baptist Hillmorton [2017] ECC Cov 1

The Chancellor granted a faculty for a single collective memorial on which could be recorded up to 120 names of those interred in the area for cremated remains of the churchyard. The Chancellor permitted a large stone of honed granite with three dark granite tablets. He would not normally have permitted such stone for a individual memorial in the churchyard of a sandstone church surrounded by mostly sandstone memorials. But he accepted that sandstone is much less durable than granite. Inscriptions would remain durable for longer on a granite tablet to which inscriptions would be added over a period of many years. Also, the memorial would not be close to other memorials in the churchyard and any adverse effect on the overall appearance of the churchyard would be minimal.

Re All Saints Allesley [2018] ECC Cov 7

The petitioner wished to have his father's cremated remains exhumed from Allesley churchyard and reinterred in the churchyard of Willoughton, where the petitioner now lived and where his mother's cremated remains had been interred. During her lifetime, the petitioner's mother had expressed a wish not to be buried next to her husband's grave at Allesley, but at Willoughton, hoping that it might be possible in due course to have her husband's remains moved to Willoughton. Applying the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, the Chancellor found that this was a case where there were insufficient exceptional grounds to warrant the grant of a faculty.

Re All Saints Allesley [2018] ECC Cov 10

The Chancellor of the Diocese had previously given a judgment on the same facts as the present case (see Re All Saints Allesley [2018] ECC Cov 7), but the judgment was set aside when it became apparent that there had been some confusion over the provision of further representations in accordance with directions that had been made. The Deputy Chancellor considered the matter afresh. He refused to grant a faculty to authorise the exhumation of the cremated remains of the petitioner's father for reinterment next to the remains of the petitioner's mother in a parish in another diocese where the petitioner lived: '... in reality this is a change of mind based upon a change in family circumstances ... unfortunately those changes in their Family life do not amount to the exceptional circumstances that would be required to justify exhumation ...'

Re St. Chad Saddleworth [2018] ECC Man 2

The Chancellor granted a faculty the authorise the introduction of 8-10 sheep into one of the three churchyards of the parish, for the purpose of keeping down the vegetation.

Re St. Philip and St. James Leckhampton [2018] ECC Glo 1

A proposed reordering of the church included: removal of all the pews from the nave and side aisles; creation of a raised level floor throughout with underfloor heating; creation of 'pods' within the south and north aisles to house an office, kitchen and meeting room space above and chair storage; four WCs; relocation of the font; glazing in of the south transept chapel; glazed draught lobby. There were local objections and objections from some of the amenity societies. The Victorian Society made a formal objection. They objected to the pods, the removal of the pews, the raising of the floor, the impact loss of the removal of the chancel step, the underfloor heating above the columbarium , the glazing of the memorial chapel. The Chancellor granted a faculty: ‘I have, of course, considered the St Alkmund, Duffield test. Are these “exceptional circumstances” where the public benefit outweighs the level of harm … It is with a somewhat heavy heart that I have to find that the needs of the parish and its current congregation are such that that test is made out.’

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Great Somerford [2018] ECC Bri 2

Reordering proposals included: tiling; redecoration; creation of a coffee area by removing five pews; modification to the font; removal of choir stalls; accessible lavatory; a galley kitchen; removal of further pews to create a new vestry; some new stackable, upholstered chairs; and renewal of the heating and electrical systems. The small aging congregation of the church wished to increase the flexibility of use of the church and thus increase the numbers of those who attend church. The Chancellor was satisfied that the proposals, if implemented, would result in little if any significant harm to the church as a building of special architectural or historical interest, and accordingly granted a faculty.

Re St. John the Baptist Bamford and Derwent [2018] ECC Der 3

The Petitioners wished to remove four pews, two from each side of the main aisle of the church nave, in order to provide a larger space for nave communions and village events, such as concerts. The Chancellor decided that any harm to the significance of the Grade II* listed building by the proposed removal would be ‘low’, but he only authorised the removal of three of the pews, as he considered that the removal of the fourth pew would provide very little extra space.

Re St. Thomas Worting [2018] ECC Win 4

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for exhumation. The petitioner wished to exhume the recently interred cremated remains of her husband from the churchyard and reinter them in her garden. The petitioner said that she had had differences with the vicar and for that reason she found it painful and distressing to visit her husband's grave. The Chancellor did not regard these circumstances sufficiently exceptional to justify the grant of a faculty.

In the Matter of Margaret Jane Moore [2018] ECC Bir 2

The petitioner wished to erect a memorial on his wife's grave. The proposed design included a design of a rose in gold, red and green. The Chancellor decided that in this particular case he would allow gold lettering and the design of the rose, provided that the rose was only coloured gold.

Re St. Aidan Bamburgh [2018] ECC New 2

The area around the font of the Grade I church consisted of sandstone flags, which over time had become very worn and had been patched with slate and concrete. The proposal was to relay the area with stone to match the existing stone around it, and to re-locate the slate to the south side to complete the paving of the south aisle in slate, all but the west end of that aisle already being paved in slate. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings objected to the proposal, preferring to see further patch repairs. Having inspected the floor, the Chancellor was satisfied that the proposed work was necessary in the interests of safety from trip-hazards, and being satisfied also that the work would not result in harm to the significance of the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

Re St. Mary & St. Hugh Harlow [2018] ECC Chd 1

The vicar and churchwardens applied for a faculty to re-use the churchyard for burials. Though the churchyard was not closed by Order in Council, burials could now only take place in existing graves. There was one objector. A hearing was held, at which the Chancellor dismissed the objector's twelve grounds of objection as having no substance, in view of which, and also of the fact that the objector had refused to have the matter dealt with by written representations, the Chancellor directed that the objector should pay the costs of the half-day hearing.

Re All Saints Little Bealings [2018] ECC SEI 1

The faculty petition proposed a major reordering of the 13th century church, including removal of most of the pews and installation of a kitchen, which would support a proposed 'cafe hub'. The rationale for the proposals was to stem the decline of attendance at the church and encourage further church and community use, rather than risk closure. The Chancellor was satisfied that a good case had been made for the changes and granted a faculty for all but one item in the proposals.

Re St Wilfred Portsea [2018] ECC Por 3

The proposal was to remove from the unlisted mission church, built in 1907, two World War I war memorials and a soldier's grave marker and place them on display with other WWI material in the adjacent community room, where they would be more visible and accessible to the community. Two objectors felt that placing the items in a community room was inappropriate, and would detract from the respect and reverence with which they should be treated.

Re St. Catherine Ventnor [2018] ECC Por 2

The petitioners wished to carry out works in the churchyard, comprising the creation of an area for cremated remains; creation of a garden for social and recreational use; and the reconfiguration and resurfacing of the parking area. There was an objection in respect of the parking area. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to conditions regarding memorials, human remains and the recording of the works.

Re Hither Green Cemetery [2018] ECC Swk 3

The petitioner sought permission to exhume the remains of her child (who had died, aged five, from a brain tumour), in order to have the remains cremated. She then wished to keep the cremated remains at home. The funeral had involved a humanist ceremony, but the remains had been buried in a consecrated part of the cemetery. The child's parents were unaware that the grave was in consecrated ground. The petitioner had subsequently regretted the interment and had found the situation difficult to come to terms with. The Chancellor found that there were exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty. The judgment contains a discussion as to whether Articles 8 and 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights applied to this case.

Re St. James Louth [2018] ECC Lin 1

The proposal was to remove the worn Victorian tiles at the west end of the nave, apart from those around the font, and to replace them with Cadeby limestone paving to match the paving laid to replace the Victorian tiles in the remainder of the nave 20 years previously, when the Parochial Church Council was unable to replace all the tiles in the nave. Heritage England and the Victorian Society objected. The Chancellor was satisfied that any harm to the significance of the church as a building of special architectural or historic interest would not be serious, and he accordingly granted a faculty.

Re All Saints Branston [2018] ECC Lin 2

In 1972 a reredos had been installed in the church of St. James Grimsby (now Grimsby Minster) in memory of a parishioner's wife. The reredos had been made by the sculptor Frank Roper to a design by the architect George Pace. In the course of a reordering in 1995, which was carried out without faculty, the reredos was removed and stored in the church. Some other items of furnishing were also removed at the time and there present whereabouts were unknown. The petitioners in the present case wished to relocate the reredos to the church of All Saints Branston. The Chancellor granted a faculty, but directed that the archdeacon should prepare a list of the furnishings removed in 1995, with the names of the donors and locations of the items, if known, with a view to the Chancellor then making an order in respect of those items.

Re Mariners' Church Gloucester [2018] ECC Glo 2

The Chancellor granted a faculty for reordering within a 19th century proprietary chapel, which has only relatively recently become subject to faculty jurisdiction. The chapel was built to cater for the bargees and seamen who worked in or visited the dockland area of Gloucester. The works included a glass outer door; removal of pews; new lighting and heating; a kitchen unit/servery; a disabled toilet; and monitors and a sound system. Certain items were not approved.