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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.

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The petitioners wished to reserve a double-depth grave in the churchyard. In 2016 the Parochial Church Council had decided on a policy of not supporting further reservations of grave spaces, owing to the relatively small number of available spaces left. Though granting a faculty on the particular facts of the present case, the Chancellor took the view that the period of a reservation should not  extend beyond the time when there would be about five years' worth of space left available. In the present case the Deputy Chancellor decided that the appropriate time limit to be placed on the reservation should be six years. The Deputy Chancellor commented that there had been a number of informal reservations allowed by a previous incumbent and that these informal reservations had no legal effect, so that the graves informally reserved were available for burials of anyone having a right of burial.

The petitioner wished to reserve a double grave for herself and her partner. The petitioner had been resident in the parish until 2013, the remains of her father and stillborn child were buried in the churchyard, and all her immediate family still lived in the area. The normal period allowed for reservation of a grave in the diocese was 25 years. Evidence suggested that there was room for further burials only for a further 7 to 10 years. The Chancellor granted a faculty, but limited it to 10 years, giving permission to the petitioner to apply for an extension within 6 months of the expiry of the 10 years. The judgment contains a review of decisions relating to grave reservations by other Chancellors, including cases where Parochial Church Councils had adopted policies of not supporting grave reservations.

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 Court refused to grant leave to appeal in respect of the judgment of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester, dated 4 August 2015, when the Chancellor refused to grant a faculty giving the petitioner the right to have her ashes interred in the grave of her late partner, the wife and two daughters of the deceased partner having objected to the grant of a faculty.

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty giving the petitioner the right to have her ashes interred in the grave of the late partner she had been living with for 2-3 years. The wife and two daughters of the deceased partner had objected.

The petitioner, a parishioner, whose parents and grandparents were buried in the churchyard, wished to reserve a grave space for herself and her partner. The Parochial Church Council, a few days before the date of the petition, had, without giving notice to parishioners, decided to adopt a policy of no grave reservations, even though there was said to be enough room in the churchyard for burials for the next 50 years. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioner had made a good case for the reservation of a grave and granted a faculty.

Three siblings, who had moved away from the parish, applied for a faculty to reserve two grave spaces next to their mother's grave. At a meeting of seven members of the Parochial Church Council ("PCC"), when a vote on the request for reservations was taken, two couples voted against the proposal on various grounds, including that there were spaces left for only 10 years of burials; the applicants never attended the church or contributed to it;  and the PCC had a 'first-come-first-served' policy. The Chancellor was satisfied that the PCC had never passed a resolution for such a policy. He also said that the family's contributions to the life of the local community should be considered as of equal weight to any financial contributions which they could have, but did not in fact, make to the Church. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

The petitioners wished to reserve a grave in the churchyard of Hulme Walfield. They did not live in the parish. In Schedule 2 of the petition it was indicated that the incumbent and Churchwardens did not consent to the reservation. The Chancellor declined to grant a faculty on the basis that a burial of a non-parishioner could only take place with the consent of the incumbent, who should have regard to any general guidance given by the PCC (s 6(2) of the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 1976). So to grant a faculty would be to subvert the purpose of Section 6(2) of the 1976 measure, since the reservation of a grave by faculty would override the minister’s power to give or withhold consent to the eventual burial of non-parishioners.

A Faculty was refused for the reservation of a grave space, as there were few empty graves left in the churchyard.

During the parish priest's absence, whilst attending a course, a burial took place in the closed churchyard. Prior to his absence, the priest had told the funeral director and the family that a burial could not take place, unless in accordance with one of the exceptions in the Order in Council closing the churchyard for burials, namely: (1) where a grave had been reserved by faculty; (2) where a person could be buried in the same grave as a relative. (Also, cremated remains can be buried in a closed churchyard.) The funeral director arranged for the deceased to be buried next to the deceased's brother in a tight space between two graves. The Chancellor determined that the interment was unlawful, and could not be made lawful retrospectively by the Ministry of Justice or the court, but he decided that no action should be taken to disturb the burial or to refer the matter for police investigation.