Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgements: Appeals

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Successful appeal against refusal of Faculty for exhumation.

Proceedings for a restoration order in respect of a building erected on a consecrated burial ground were stayed by the Chancellor of the Diocese. The applicants appealed. The Court of Arches directed that the matter be referred back to the Deputy Chancellor of the Diocese (or a Chancellor of another Diocese) for consideration as to whether the building had been erected in the consecrated churchyard, contrary to the provisions of the Disused Burial Grounds Act 1884 and appropriate disposal of the matter.

There had been a faculty application to authorise the installation of telecommunications equipment at the church and the completion of a licence agreement between the Parochial Church Council and the telecommunications operator. The Chancellor had refused to grant a faculty. The petitioners appealed. The appeal was allowed and the court directed that a faculty should issue. The court found that the Chancellor had unnecessarily given weight to the church's primary responsibility being mission, an argument which had not been put forward by the objectors, and had not given sufficient weight to the evidence in favour of the proposals, particularly that the Government had issued guidelines to planning authorities that planning consent should not be refused for telecommunications equipment on the grounds of arguments as to danger to human health, if installations complied with international guidelines.  

Judgment in an appeal to the Court of Arches against a refusal by the Chancellor to grant a faculty for the introduction of a raised area at the east end of the nave and the moving of four pews from the south aisle to the north aisle to allow space for a ramp to the raised area.

Appeal allowed against refusal of Faculty for the relocation of the chancel screen.

In Re St. James Kidbrooke [2016] ECC 16 the Chancellor of the Diocese of Southwark granted a faculty to permit the installation of twelve antennae and two dishes behind GRP replacement louvres in the tower of the church and gave authority for the Rector to enter a licence agreement for a term of 20 years with the telecommunications company. The sole party opponent applied to the Court of Arches for leave to appeal on six grounds. The Dean of Arches refused to grant leave to appeal.

An appeal by the Victorian Society against the decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Rochester to allow the removal from the church of a Victorian eight bay screen by Bodley & Garner and its reinstallation in a church in Leicestershire, which would necessitate the reduction of the screen by two bays. The appeal succeeded but the redetermination was that a faculty should issue.

An appeal by the Church Buildings Council against the decision of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Winchester to allow the sale of the Wootton Helmet, a 15th century Flemish Armet currently on loan to the Royal Armouries. Appeal allowed. "Whether one looks to the existence of “special reasons”, or, as we have held to be preferable, one simply looks at the matter in the round to see whether the grounds for sale are sufficiently compelling to outweigh the strong presumption against disposal by any form of sale, we are satisfied that this petition should be dismissed. The armet is a national asset with historic links to the parish and there is no proven financial case for its sale. Little if any weight should attach to the fact that it has been physically out of the church, and therefore outside the parish, for many years."

The Dean of Arches allowed an appeal against the decision of the Chancellor of the Diocese, who refused to grant a confirmatory faculty for a memorial placed inside the church. The Dean pointed out that a faculty for a memorial inside a church should only be granted in exceptional circumstances. He found that in the present case there were exceptional circumstances, as the persons commemorated had been substantial benefactors of the church and the village over many years.