Ecclesiastical Law Association

Ecclesiastical Law Association

Judgments: Injunctions and Restoration Orders

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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.

The Parochial Church Council applied for an injunction to prevent the London Borough of Hounslow from developing a piece of land near the church, claiming that the land was consecrated, and historically had been part of the churchyard, notwithstanding that the Borough Council and its predecessor council had been registered with absolute title in respect of the particular piece of land for 69 years. The Chancellor dismissed the application.

This judgment arose out of a hearing before the Chancellor in Re St. George Hanworth [2016] ECC Lon 1. The issue of costs was referred to the Deputy Chancellor, who determined that the bulk of the costs of the London Borough of Hounslow should be paid by the Parochial Church Council.

Two matters were before the Chancellor: (1) an application for a confirmatory faculty in respect of a sound system installed without faculty in 1997; (2) an application by the Archdeacon for a restoration order in respect of lighting installed in the west porch in 2015 without faculty. The Chancellor's decisions were as follows: (1) faculty to be granted for the sound system, subject to conditions, including the replacement of the old sound speakers with new speakers in different locations; (2) a decision on the application for a restoration order in respect of the lighting to be deferred for 36 days, to allow time for a faculty petition to be presented.

The Chancellor, for two reasons, dismissed an application by a private individual for an injunction to stop the Dean & Chapter of York Minster preventing the ringing of the Minster bells. Firstly, the Chancellor had no jurisdiction over the cathedral church of the diocese; and secondly, "the injunctive powers given to Chancellors is in relation to unlawful activity in relation to the church or the churchyard, but only such activity the nature of which would require a faculty to be granted for it to be done lawfully. The use or non-use of the church, the conduct of services in the church and the ringing or non-ringing of bells would not fall within the jurisdiction of the consistory court in a parish church."