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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



A priest, who (and whose family) had several connections with the church and village, wished to reserve a grave space. The Parochial Church Council ('PCC') objected on the basis that it had made a policy decision in 2012 (reaffirmed in 2020) of not approving any reservations of graves, but to have a 'first-come, first-served' policy, though the present incumbent and self-supporting minister of the parish supported the present application. The Chancellor stated that weight should always be given to such a PCC policy, but such a policy could not override the discretion of the Chancellor, should an exceptional case arise. The Chancellor decided that in this case the petitioner had shown such a degree of exceptionality as to justify the grant of a faculty.

The PCC had passed a resolution in 2009 that it would not support future applications for the reservation of graves, as it was estimated that the churchyard would be full within ten years. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the reservation of a grave for a parishioner and his wife, who wished to be buried in a grave next to the Pet‭itioner's mother: "I have

There was an application for a faculty to create a grave in the east end of the north aisle of the Grade I church for the reburial of the remains of Capt. Matthew Flinders, the  famous navigator and cartographer, and the installation of a new ledger stone above the grave. Capt. Flinders' coffin, bearing his name, had been discovered in 2019 during HS2 works to expand Euston Station, and the proposal was to return his remains to the town where he was born. The churchyard had been closed for burials from 1 August 1865, but an Order in Council in 2020 added an exception to the original Order in Council, to allow the interment of Capt. Flinders' remains in the north aisle of the church. The Chancellor determined that, notwithstanding the 2020 Order in Council, a faculty was still needed to authorise the interment in the church, and there needed to be exceptional circumstances to allow an interment inside the church. He decided that the circumstances were exceptional, and that allowing the burial in church would not set a precedent, as the Orders in Council prevented any further burials. He therefore granted a faculty.

The petitioner wished to reserve a grave space in the churchyard next to the grave of her father. Several of her relatives were buried in the churchyard. The petitioner did not live in the parish, but in another parish in the same benefice, and she was not on the church electoral roll. The Parochial Church Council (PCC) had had a policy for at least 15 years of not supporting applications for the reservation of graves, as a result of which several letters of objection from parishioners were received in response to this application. The Chancellor determined that the PCC's policy was not unreasonable, and he could find no sufficient grounds to go against the policy. He therefore refused to grant a faculty.

The four petitioners (one of whom wished to be cremated) petitioned to reserve exclusive rights of burial for 30 years in a triple-depth grave next to their parents' grave. The churchyard only had space for burials for 20 years. The Chancellor granted a faculty, but limited the reservation to 20 years.

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, who did not live in the parish and therefore had no legal right to be buried in it, wished to reserve a double depth grave in the churchyard for himself and his wife, next to the grave of their son, who had died in a tragic accident at the age of 24. The associate priest objected (without becoming a party opponent) on the grounds that spaces for burial were limited and since 2021 the parish had had a policy of not approving further grave reservations, as the churchyard was likely to be full within about six years. In the circumstances, the Chancellor felt it would be unfair to override the parish policy and refused to grant a faculty.

The petitioner wished to reserve a cremation plot next to the plot where the ashes of her son, who had died in a tragic accident, were interred in 2019. The Chancellor granted a faculty. However, the Chancellor took into account that there were only nine plots left for the burial of ashes; the annual rate of ashes interments was one per year; and the petitioner was only 46 years of age. He therefore limited the grant to a period of 10 years, with leave for the petitioner to apply for an extension within the last of the ten years, when the Chancellor's successor could decide whether to allow an extension, depending on the circumstances at that time.

The petitioner wished to reserve a singe depth grave space in the churchyard. She was a resident of the parish and on the church electoral roll, and she attended church occasionally. There were an estimated 248 graves available. However, the Parochial Church Council had passed a resolution in 2021 to adopt a policy of not supporting any further grave reservations, except in exceptional circumstances. The Chancellor considered that the reasons given for the policy were reasonable and there were no sufficiently exceptional circumstances to justify the grant of a faculty

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.