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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



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.

The Parish Council, which was responsible for the maintenance of the closed churchyard at Chithurst, wished to fell an ash tree, which was suffering from ash die-back, on the grounds that the disease might cause the tree to become dangerous within the next few years and cause damage to the church or passers-by. The proposal was opposed by two neighbours. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for the felling of the tree and granted a faculty.

The petitioners wished to fell a holly tree in the churchyard, because the roots were damaging a table-top tomb dated 1791. They also wished to fell a failing ash tree and to reduce the crowns of two further holly trees encroaching on graves. A report by experts said that either the tomb or the holly tree next to it should be removed. There were living descendants of those commemorated by the tomb who did not want the tomb disturbed. The Chancellor decided that the preservation of the tomb in situ was more important than the preservation of the holly tree. He also agreed to the removal of the ash tree. As regards the remaining two holly trees, the Chancellor required to petitioners to take expert advice about more modest proposals for pruning the two trees.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the re-use of an area of the churchyard in which there were no memorials and where it was believed that there had been no burials for at least 75 years.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the re-use of an area of the churchyard in which there were no memorials and where it was believed that there had been no burials for at least 150 years.

The Chancellor granted a faculty for the sale to Westminster Council of an unconsecrated strip of land within the curtilage of the church. The judgment contains a discussion of the alternative ways of dealing with a conveyance of unconsecrated church curtilage.

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.

The petitioners wished to place in the churchyard a bench made of steel with slats made from recycled plastic. The Diocesan Advisory Committee ('DAC') did not recommend the proposal. They considered the design not suitable for a historic village churchyard, but more appropriate for a school or city centre, and that a timber bench would be more appropriate. The Chancellor granted a faculty. He did not think it appropriate or necessary to overrule the choice of the Parochial Church Council ('PCC') on grounds of aesthetics. However, he imposed a condition that the PCC should reconsider the design and materials of the bench. If they decided on an alternative, then the alternative would be allowed, subject to prior approval by the DAC. Otherwise, the design accompanying the petition was approved.

The Parochial Church Council petitioned for permission to remove all toys, ornaments and other memorabilia and edgings from 67 graves within the churchyard, many of which items had been in the churchyard for a considerable time. The Chancellor considered all written objections, including a claim that to remove such items would be in breach of the law relating to human rights, but decided that the PCC was entirely within its rights in wishing to enforce the Churchyard Regulations, and accordingly a faculty was granted.

The church had been declared redundant in 2001 and in 2004 a lease for 99 years had been granted to a charity. The charity applied for a faculty to lay a foul drain through the  churchyard to take the waste from a disabled toilet which was to be installed in the church, to serve the needs of people attending the church for community events. A party opponent objected on the grounds that there was little need for community events in the church, that  the funds needed for the project could be better spent elsewhere, and that the village sewerage system was already stretched to the limit. The petitioners argued that, as the church had been used only twelve times in the previous year, the toilet usage would not overload the sewerage system. The Chancellor noted that the local authority had approved the proposal, and was therefore presumed not to be concerned about the laying of an additional drain in the village. Also, it was believed that there were no burials in the churchyard which would be affected by the laying of the drain. The Chancellor therefore granted a faculty.