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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2022 judgments on this web site as at 1 October 2022



Lydbrook Parochial Church Council sought an order requiring the District Council ("DC") to fulfil its liability to maintain Lydbrook's closed churchyard. The DC sought to have the proceedings struck out because (1) proceedings for judicial review were the appropriate way of dealing with this type of matter; or (2) there was no prospect of success, or (3) the claimants had not agreed to the matter been dealt with through alternative dispute resolution. The judge determined that it was appropriate for the matter to be dealt with by the County Court. The applications to strike out and for summary judgment were dismissed. To avoid substantial costs, the judge ordered a stay of proceeedings in order to allow the parties time to resolve their dispute.

The priest in charge and a churchwarden sought permission to reuse for burials two areas of the churchyard, which had not been used for burials since 1850. The Commissary General determined that it was appropriate to use the areas for reburials and she granted a faculty. For the benefit of other parishes in the diocese, she indicated that reburial would normally be allowed where there had been no burials in an area to be reused for at least 75 years.

The petitioner wished to apply fine shingle or fine gravel to the area within the kerbs of two graves, for the purpose of weed suppression. The Parochial Church Council ("PCC") opposed the proposal, as the Churchyard Regulations provided that “kerbs, railings or chippings, whether raised or at ground level, are not permitted", and the PCC had been endeavouring to enforce the regulations. They would have preferred the kerbs to be removed. The Commissary General considered the factors in favour and against allowing the proposal and decided, on balance, to grant a faculty: there was no petition for the removal of the kerbs; the introduction of fine shingle would not make mowing or strimming more difficult; the appearance of fine shingle was more natural than chippings; and the fine shingle would slow down the growth of weeds.

The petition related to improvements to the entrance and pathways to the church. This involved removal of a large number of old memorials which had been laid as paving during the 1900s. These memorials were inclined to be slippery underfoot when wet, giving rise to health and safety concerns. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to a condition that within nine months a report should be submitted concerning progress on the work and as to the most appropriate way to deal with the old memorials removed from the pathways.

In April 2020, the Chancellor had granted an interim injunction (subsequently renewed) on the application of the Parish Council, who were responsible for maintenance of the churchyard. The injunction was against further lopping or removal of trees, or erecting a replacement boundary between the churchyard and the adjoining inn by the owner of the inn. The Chancellor asked the Archdeacon to meet the parties and agree the boundary line between the churchyard and the inn. Agreement was in fact reached. The Chancellor gave the Parochial Church Council (PCC) time to make representations regarding the boundary, after which the Chancellor would make a final order, which would include a declaration regarding the agreed boundary line and a prohibition against the owner of the inn doing any further lopping or felling or erecting a boundary fence or other demarcation. If the PCC wished to erect a fence in due course, they would need to apply for a faculty.

The subject matter of the petition was the felling of two mature lime trees in the churchyard. In 2020, a local authority tree expert had recommended that one tree should be felled and the other pollarded. The Parochial Church Council decided that both trees should be felled and replaced with yews. But subsequently, one tree was felled and the other pollarded. A formal complaint was made that the Archdeacon had erroneously allowed the felling of the first tree pursuant to List B of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules. The second tree was later felled. On the evidence, the Chancellor decided that the first tree had been in rapid decline due to decay,  that it was appropriate for it to be removed, and it had been appropriate for the Archdeacon to deal with the matter under List B; the second tree was dying and/or dangerous, and there would have been a case for the Archdeacon granting a List B consent, failing which felling of the second tree should have been the subject of a faculty petition. The Chancellor granted a retrospective faculty for the removal of the trees, subject to conditions.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the removal of a large yew tree growing close to the south wall of the nave of the church.

The churchyard of All Saints Church had been closed for further burials by an Order in Council in 1857. In 2011 the site of a 14th century Dominican Friary within the grounds of a local hospital had been excavated, and the human remains of two people had been found. A licence granted by the Secretary of State to Pontefract and District Archaeological Society ('PDAS') permitted exhumation of the remains and reinterment by a certain dated in a place where burials could lawfully take place. Without any permission being sought through the then incumbent and without his knowledge, the remains were reinterred in All Saints churchyard in 2015 at a very brief ceremony attended by a deacon of All Saints, who approved the interment (he later died), a Roman Catholic priest and a representative of PDAS. In view of the Order in Council, the burial was unlawful. The illegality came to light when PDAS approached the present incumbent for permission for a stone to mark the interments. The fact that the burial was unlawful was resolved by a successful application to the Privy Council for an amendment to the 1857 Order in Council, so as to permit an exception allowing the interment in the churchyard of the human remains recovered from the site of the former Friary, and by the Deputy Chancellor granting a confirmatory faculty for the interments.

Faculty granted for improvements to the site of the former parish church, which includes the site of the town's war memorial.

The Caister Joint Burial Committee proposed to remove and relocate all memorials from an old section of the parish cemetery, to allow for an ordered reuse of that area for further burials. There were objections from two relatives of persons buried in the 1890s. The Chancellor determined that the petitioners’ need to clear an area for reuse must outweigh the wishes of the objectors, but directed that the two memorials concerned should be carefully relocated to the boundary of the cemetery.