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.

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Click on a citation to open or download a judgment.

Re St. Mary Melton Mowbray [2019] ECC Lei 4

The Parochial Church Council had engaged a “decorative stone & plaster conservator” to carry out restoration work to the painting of the Royal Coat of Arms over the chancel arch of the church, without consulting the Diocesan Advisory Committee or obtaining a faculty. They subsequently realised that they should have obtained a faculty and made an application. The Chancellor, "with some hesitation", granted a confirmatory faculty.

Re Holy Trinity Dalton [2019] UKUT 0176 (LC)

This was an appeal from a decision of the Land Registration Division of the Property Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal, which resulted from an application by the Incumbent and the Diocesan Board of Finance (the Respondents in the appeal) to register the title to the church. The church at Dalton was completed in 1837 and was conveyed to the Church Building Commissioners by Edward Collingwood as a chapel of ease for the parish of Newburn. The conveyance reserved to the donor the burial vault under the nave for the interment of the donor and his heirs. The last interment of a member of the Collingwood family was in 1940. By a pastoral scheme made in 2004, the church was declared redundant. Before the scheme, the church was always open, but after the scheme it was kept locked. The issue was whether the respondents (or either of them) had made out a claim to the vault based on adverse possession. The decision of the Upper Tier Tribunal was that the respondents could not claim title to the vault by adverse possession.

Re St. Michael & All Angels Adbaston [2019] ECC Lic 4

In the severe winter of 1980/81, the petitioner's father died. The churchyard being deep in snow, the parish priest recommended cremation followed by interment of the ashes in a sheltered spot by the church. The petitioner's mother died in June 2018, aged 102, and in accordance with her wishes her body had been buried in the churchyard. The petitioner now wished to have her father's ashes exhumed and interred in her mother's grave. The Chancellor decided that the circumstance in which the petitioner's father's remains had been interred, combined with her mother's expressed hope that her husband’s remains could in due course be moved so that she and he could be in the same plot, amounted to exceptional circumstances allowing him to grant a faculty for exhumation.

Re St. Peter Stoke Upon Tern [2019] ECC Lic 3

The proposed works to the Grade II church involved a "a significant remodelling" of the porch. The Victorian Society, though not a party opponent, expressed strong objections that the works would involve the demolition of a “principal element” of the listed building, as the design would be so different from the original porch. Historic England expressed a preference for the porch being rebuilt close to its original design. The Diocesan Advisory Committee's only reservation was the proposed curtain heater over the door. The Chancellor determined that the benefits from the lighter and more comfortable and more welcoming internal arrangements which would result from the proposed glazing, outweighed the harm to the church’s special significance, and he therefore granted a faculty.

Re St. Nicholas Charlwood [2019] ECC Swk 2

The petitioner's mother died in a motor accident in 2000. The petitioner's father had been in such a state of shock that he had left it to a family friend to arrange the funeral. Notwithstanding that the father and his three daughters were all atheists, the family friend arranged for burial in the consecrated churchyard at Charlwood. Each member of the family had never been happy with this and had only recently found it possible to discuss the matter together. They now wished the mother's body to be exhumed and cremated, and the ashes scattered elsewhere. The Deputy Chancellor considered the guiding principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299 and concluded that this was an exceptional case where exhumation should be allowed: " ... I am persuaded that there was a fundamental mistake of intention in this case ... For a family of conscientious atheists, Christian burial was not the right choice. The daughters have tried very hard to honour and make sense of their mother’s memory through the medium of her grave, but they reached a point whereby the thing which should provide some solace was doing the opposite."

Re St. Nicholas Southfleet [2019] ECC Roc 2

The churchwardens petitioned for a faculty to authorise the removal of the existing cast iron radiators and pipework in the church, the introduction of six convector heaters, and the introduction of an insulated ceiling in the vestry. The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not recommend the proposed insulated ceiling, stating that the vestry space was not a large one to heat; "the proposed ceiling would hide the timbers of the roof structure which, although not medieval, are substantial looking timbers with pegged joints"; and "the proposed ceiling may make the room feel 'claustrophobic' for those using it." The vestry was used by the parish priest as an office and the insulated ceiling had been proposed in order to prevent heat from the small heater being lost upwards to the high ceiling. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made out a case of need, and that the work would not cause damage to the fabric and was reversible. He accordingly granted a faculty.

Re St. Mary Mapledurwell [2019] ECC Win 1

Five yew trees, a conifer and a holly had been felled without the authority of a faculty. There had been an application for a faculty using the Online Faculty System. The petitioner (a churchwarden) had taken the approval of the Diocesan Advisory Committee to mean that a faculty would be granted. By the time the Chancellor visited the churchyard to inspect the trees, the trees had been removed. The Chancellor granted a confirmatory faculty, subject to a condition that new native trees should be planted in the churchyard.

Re Christ Church Heeley [2019] ECC She 1

The reordering proposals included: removal and disposal of the nave pews, the removal of a balcony structure, the disposal of an electric valve organ, the levelling of the floors by removing the pew platforms, the relocation of the pulpit, the construction of a ramp to the dais, the introduction of a new boiler and underfloor heating system, a new lighting system and a new audio-visual system, the replacement of fibreglass windows with clear glass leaded windows, the provision of a crèche area and a storage area, alterations to the ‘font doors’, new flooring, chairs and tables and complete redecoration. The Victorian Society objected to the removal of the pews and their replacement with upholstered chairs. However, the Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for the proposals and that the resulting public benefit would greatly outweigh any harm caused to the significance of the church as a whole.

Re St. Peter & St. Paul Grundisburgh [2019] ECC SEI 3

The proposals included a small extension to the church to accommodate toilets and a plant room. The DAC opposed the proposals, stating that “the elevations of the proposed extension are not in proportion to the mass and scale of the church.” However, Historic England were pleased that the petitioners had followed their recommendation to reduce the size of the proposed extension, which meant that it would be more easily assimilated by the church building as a whole. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

Re St. Philip & St. Jacob Bristol [2019] ECC Bri 1

The incumbent and churchwardens wished to grant a licence to a company to use part of the churchyard for temporary site offices and car parking, and to allow the fitting of electronically-controlled access gates. They also wished to dispose of some items of church furniture, which had been in storage for 10 years. The Victorian Society did not support the disposal of the lectern, a chair and some prayer desks. Historic England had reservations about the proposed new gates. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings had reservations about the gates and also archaeological concerns. The Chancellor was satisfied with the proposals and granted a faculty.

Re Christ Church Laxey [2019] EC Sodor 1

The Chancellor considered two faculty petitions, the object of both being to allow the church to be used as a visitor centre as part of a heritage trail linking various historic sites in the village. The first petition related to the installation of a digital display board, to be installed on the north wall of the nave, and to be used for notices, for showing films about the history of village and as an aid to worship on appropriate occasions. The second application sought permission to install two secure moveable cabinets in the south west corner of the church and two moveable desks at the rear of the church, the cabinets to be used to store merchandise for supplies and sales to visitors, one of the desks is to be used to display information for visitors and the other to enable Manx craftspeople to sell their merchandise. The Chancellor granted two faculties.

Re All Saints Bishop Burton [2019] ECC Yor 6

The petition proposed the following works of reordering: (1) install access ramp to south door (2) introduce entrance lobby to south entrance (3) remove 2 pews at west end of south aisle and install disabled WC (4) re-order west end (5) upgrade kitchen facilities and (5) install a trench arch system with gravel and paved pathway over. There were objections to the moving of the pews and the access to the WC. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners have made out a case for their proposals and he accordingly granted a faculty.

Re Christ Church Spitalfields [2019] EACC 2

A order relating to costs and other matters in respect of the Court of Arches judgment in Re Christ Church Spitalfields [2019] EACC 1, which resulted in the making of a restoration order requiring the demolition of the children's nursery building erected on the closed churchyard.

Re St. Paul Rusthall [2019] ECC Roc 1

The petitioner wished to exhume the cremated remains of his father and reinter them in the same churchyard in the grave of his mother, who died after his father. Shortly before he died, the petitioner's father had told the petitioner that he wanted to be cremated. The petitioner's mother had expressed regret after her husband's death that she had been unable to persuade her husband to be buried, so that he could be buried in the same grave as herself. But the retired priest who carried out the interment of her husband's ashes had assured the mother that, when she was buried, it would be possible to put her husband's cremated remains into her grave. The petitioner was also reassured by either the priest or the funeral director, that there would be no problem. The Chancellor determined that there had been an innocent mistake on the part of the retired priest, and further that there was a misunderstanding by all the family, amounting to a mistake, as to what they could or could not do. He therefore decided that there were special circumstances in this case to justify allowing the exhumation and reinterment.

Re St. James Swarkestone [2019] ECC Der 2

The proposals included an extension to provide an accessible WC and external door lobby and adaptations to the existing meeting area (formerly a vestry) to include a kitchen, separated off by glazed screens from the rest of the church. A water supply and sewerage system were required. The Chancellor was satisfied that the proposals were desirable and appropriate for the church and granted a faculty.

Re St. John the Baptist Felixstowe [2019] ECC SEI 2

The petitioner (aged 98) and her late husband had lived in Belgium but had regularly travelled to Felixstowe over many years to visit the petitioner's mother. The petitioner's husband had died in 1992 and his ashes had been interred in Felixstowe Cemetery. The husband had no religious faith and the petitioner believed at the time of interment of his ashes that the ashes were being interred in an unconsecrated part of the cemetery, though it was eventually discovered that the whole of the cemetery was consecrated. The petitioner now wished to exhume her husband's ashes, and after her death to have his ashes and her own ashes scattered on the seashore in Felixstowe, in order to fulfill their long-held wish. In 1993, at the time when it was thought that the grave was unconsecrated, the petitioner had obtained a Home Office Licence to exhume her husband's ashes, but she had allowed the licence to lapse. The Chancellor, in the very special circumstances of this case, decided to treat this as an exceptional situation where he felt justified in granting a faculty.

Re St. Andrew Ham [2019] ECC Swk 1

The petitioners' daughter had died in 1980 and her ashes had been buried in the churchyard at Ham. The Petitioners had subsequently made their permanent home in Tasmania, but they had purchased the right to be buried in due time in a plot in Kingston General Cemetery. The petitioners wished, on the occasion of the first of them to die, to have their ashes interred in the reserved grave in the cemetery and to have their daughter's ashes exhumed from the churchyard and interred in the same grave. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

Re St. Wilfrid Barrow on Trent [2019] ECC Der 1

A major reordering of the Grade I church was proposed, including: a new timber floor with under-floor heating; a new ringing floor and glass screening to the tower; replacement of the pews with light-weight metal-framed chairs with wooden seats and backs; kitchenette and storage facilities; new lighting and audio-visual equipment. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for improving the church and its usability for both church and community use, in order to prevent further decline in the use of the church.