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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 20 January 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2021 judgments on this web site.



The church is surrounded on three sides by iron railings with a bar at the top surmounted by finials in the shape of a fleur-de-lys. In 2014 a child climbed the fence in an attempt to recover a frisbee, which had flown into the churchyard. The child slipped and impaled his head on one of the finials, causing damage to his jaw. The PCC sought to remove the risk of another similar incident by seeking permission to place a bar across the tops of the finials. Notwithstanding that the Diocesan Advisory Committee did not approve the proposal, but suggested alternatives, the Chancellor granted a faculty.

The priest-in-charge and churchwardens sought permission to reuse for burials three specific areas of the churchyard where there were no memorials and no evidence of recent burials. The Chancellor considered that it was appropriate to grant a faculty to allow reburial, rather than have the churchyard closed for burials after the remaining space for five new graves in the currently used part of the churchyard had been filled. As it appeared that the risk of encountering human remains was greatest in area 3, the Chancellor directed that areas 1 and 2 should be used first. The Chancellor added a number of other conditions to the grant of the faculty.

Faculty granted for the erection of metal railings surmounted by Raptor anti-scaling barrier on the north and west sides of the churchyard, as a security measure to prevent further lead thefts.

The Court of Arches held that, where a local authority was responsible for a closed churchyard, a parish council had sufficient interest to intervene in faculty proceedings concerning the laying flat of memorials there. Where memorials had been laid flat, the duty on the local authority to maintain the churchyard included an obligation to take into account the safety of memorials and the appearance of the churchyard, but a district council was under no duty to reinstate memorials it had laid flat. (This case is fully reported at [20o9] PTSR 968.)

Following a complaint by a parishioner, there were two petitions relating to the churchyards of two parishes. The Rector and Churchwardens sought a confirmatory faculty to allow the retention of several grave markers and other items which have been introduced without lawful authority, either because the Rector had allowed items to be introduced which were outside the delegated authority he had under the churchyards regulations or because items had been installed without his permission first being sought. In his judgment, the Chancellor emphasised the importance of clergy complying with their responsibilities under the regulations. The Chancellor granted a faculty with conditions requiring that several items should be removed from graves in the two churchyards.

The University of Oxford proposed a redevelopment of the site of the former Radcliffe Infirmary burial ground, which had been consecrated in 1770. The University therefore petitioned for the exhumation and subsequent reinterment of the human remains contained in the burial ground. The Chancellor granted a faculty. He was satisfied that the provisions of the Disused Burial Grounds Act 1884, which restricted building on disused burial grounds, did not apply, owing to an exception in the Act which excluded burial grounds transferred by statute (the site having been transferred to to the Minister of Health under the National Health Service Act 1946). He was also satisfied that there were exceptional circumstances to justify exhumation, namely, the public benefit to be derived from using the land for academic purposes.

In 2018, a former archdeacon, at the request of the incumbent, had agreed to the interment of some ashes in the closed churchyard, though the Chancellor could find no evidence of the incumbent advising the archdeacon that the churchyard was closed by Order in Council, in which case a faculty would have been required to authorise the interment. There was now an application for a confirmatory faculty for the interment and for the erection of a memorial. The Chancellor determined, for pastoral reasons, to grant a faculty.

Lancaster City Council applied for a faculty to permit the removal of the boundary hedge of the cemetery and the use of a 1.8m strip of the consecrated area of the cemetery to create a public footpath next to the immediately adjoining highway. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to a new hedge being planted on the cemetery side of the proposed footpath. There were no human remains or memorials within the strip of land, and the proposal would improve the safety of users of the public highway.

In the churchyard of St. Adamnan's Church (otherwise known as the Old Kirk) in Lonan, on the Isle of Man, stands a building called the Cross House, so named because it houses a number of ancient crosses. The incumbent and churchwardens applied for a faculty to authorise the installation of an information board and signage to provide information about the crosses. A member of the Parochial Church Council lodged a letter of objection, claiming that the signage was unnecessary and that the Manx Museum and National Trust was responsible for the Cross House. The Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the work would not harm the building and that it would improve public understanding of the crosses and their significance.

The churchwardens and fabric officer of the church petitioned for a confirmatory faculty in relation to works of refurbishment to the area for cremated remains in the churchyard, which was surrounded by stone flags. Over a period prior to the summer of 2015 there had been complaints about the untidiness of the area and nine further interments of ashes had taken place outside the area, which had become full. The PCC, without a faculty, extended the area from 32 plots to 106 plots, replaced the turf with gravel, and constructed a low wall surmounted with stone around the enlarged plot. Following the discovery of the works by the Archdeacon, an application was made for a confirmatory faculty. The Chancellor was very concerned about the works, both from an aesthetic point of view and more importantly because of potential future maintenance issues. She granted a faculty for a limited period of 10 years, after which the situation should be reviewed.