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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



The petitioners sought to place a tablet in the churchyard to commemorate two interments in the same plot in 2005 and 2007. Tablets had been allowed for a short period in the 1960s, but since then the Parochial Church Council had adhered to a policy of not allowing further tablets, in order to preserve the open grassed appearance of the churchyard. In 2011, a Faculty had been granted to authorise a memorial wall on which plaques could be placed to commemorate those whose cremated remains have been interred in the churchyard since 2010. The incumbent and Churchwardens objected to a further plaque being placed in the churchyard. Whilst of the view that the policy of the PCC was reasonable and should normally be adhered to, the Chancellor felt there were exceptional circumstances in this case, as the plot in question was the only cremation plot without a tablet in a row of plots where tablets had been placed in the 1960s. Accordingly, a Faculty was granted.

The subject matter of the petition was a memorial to Tobias Rustat (d. 1694) in the Chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge. The petitioners (the College) wished to remove the memorial from the Chapel, for conservation and retention elsewhere, as they wished to avoid the risk of people worshipping at the Chapel being offended by the memorial, in view of Rustat’s involvement in the slave trade in the late 17th century. There were many objectors to the proposal. The judgment deals with procedural and evidential issues, including refusing the objectors’ application to adjourn the hearing listed for 2-4 February 2022 in order to obtain the expert evidence of a historian, and refusing the petitioners’ application to call an eighth witness.

His Hon. Judge David Hodge was specially appointed by the Bishop of Huntingdon to act as Deputy Chancellor to determine the petition presented by the College, which sought permission to remove from the College Chapel a Grinling Gibbons memorial to Tobias Rustat, who had been a benefactor of the College in the 17th century. The College contended that Rustat's investment in companies connected with the slave trade created a serious obstacle to the Chapel’s ability to provide a credible Christian ministry and witness to the College community and a safe space for secular College functions and events. The Deputy Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. He considered that the removal of the Rustat memorial from the west wall of the Chapel would cause considerable, or notable, harm to the significance of the Chapel as a building of special architectural or historic interest, and he was not satisfied  that a clear and sufficiently convincing justification for the removal of the memorial had been made by the College.

In his judgment in Re Jesus College Cambridge [2022] ECC Ely 2, the Deputy Chancellor dismissed a faculty petition by the College to remove the C17th memorial to Tobias Rustat from the west wall of the Grade I listed College Chapel. The present judgment deals with an application for costs by the parties opponent.  For the detailed reasons set out in the judgment, the Deputy Chancellor refused the application for costs by the parties opponent. There was an overriding principle in relation to costs that parties should not be penalised by an award of costs against them purely because they were unsuccessful, but only if they had acted unreasonably and thereby increased the costs of the litigation. The Chancellor was satisfied that the College had on the whole acted reasonably, and that "any mistakes have tended to work to the benefit of the case advanced by the parties opponent rather than causing them to incur costs unnecessarily."

Keynsham Town Council sought a faculty  for "The laying flat on its appropriate grave any tombstone or other monument found on inspection to be unstable or dangerous in some other respect . Such permission to cover both past and future works."  The Council had already laid flat 178 memorials without a faculty. Notice of Objection was received from 20 members of the public, of whom some became parties opponent. The Chancellor decided that it was appropriate to grant a confirmatory faculty, but that a separate faculty would be needed for works in the future, and he set out conditions which would apply to future works.

A memorial was installed within a couple of years of the petitioner's father dying in 1946, when the petitioner was a small child. In 2011 the petitioner's cousin and her aunt decided to replace the original memorial with a black polished granite memorial with kerbs and green chippings, and the installation was carried out without faculty. The petitioner sought a faculty to authorise the removal of the second memorial and the erection of a replica of the original. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioner was the heir at law in respect of the first memorial, the person who purchased the memorial (assumed to be the petitioner's mother) having died. He accordingly granted a faculty to the petitioner.

The Vicar General refused to grant a confirmatory faculty for a memorial erected in memory of the petitioner's late wife, who had been a singer/songwriter and author of children's books. The memorial was made of wood and in the shape of a treble clef sign. The reasons given for refusal were: the memorial was taller and much thicker than the maximum dimensions laid down in the churchyards regulations; the wood was already cracking and deteriorating; the regulations required a memorial to be of natural stone; the memorial was of an eccentric shape, which is prohibited by the regulations; the Vicar General considered the memorial inappropriate for the setting. The Vicar General ordered the memorial to be removed within 56 days, and indicated that he would not object to it being replaced with a memorial of natural stone bearing a suitably sized engraving of a treble clef sign.

The Chancellor gave an anonymised judgment in order to protect the privacy of anyone who might be affected by the judgment. The petition requested authority for the removal of a commemorative plaque, which had been installed without faculty on a window sill inside the church. The plaque recorded that the window above it had been restored by a local farmer and former long-serving churchwarden, who had died in his 80s. It had been brought to the attention of the Parochial Church Council that in the 1950s the former churchwarden had been convicted on four charges of sexual abuse. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that the petitioner had demonstrated a sufficiently good reason justifying the removal of the commemorative plaque.

A married couple had been buried in graves alongside each other. Following the second interment (of the wife), the petitioners wished to move the memorial at the head of the husband's grave to mid-way between the two graves, to add a further inscription in gold letters on the polished black granite memorial and to add side panels bearing coloured rose designs. As there were many instances of memorials outside the churchyards regulations in the churchyard, including examples of memorials erected between adjacent graves, and in view of the fact that the churchyard would shortly need to be closed for further burials, the Chancellor granted a faculty, but excluded permission for the decorative side panels.

The petitioner wished to place on his wife's grave a cast iron memorial, which included, as part of the design, a cluster of five-pointed stars, as his wife's name was Stella. The Parochial Church Council was opposed to this type of memorial on the basis that it would not be in keeping with the stone memorials in the churchyard and it would set a precedent. The Diocesan Advisory Committee and the Church Buildings Council had no objections to the design. The Chancellor considered that the memorial would be fitting and appropriate. There was a tradition of cast iron headstones in the area, though not in this particular churchyard. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to a condition that the stars should not be pierced through the memorial, but that the stars and the lettering should be raised. This was for health and safety reasons, lest children might injure themselves on the sharp points of pierced stars.