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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

Re All Saints West Dulwich [2015] Philip Petchey Ch. (Southwark)

There was a petition by the Vicar and Churchwardens seeking permission to convert a fixed lavabo in the sanctuary of a nineteenth century church for use as an aumbry. The Chancellor granted a Faculty. Although the petition was unopposed, the Chancellor decided to give a detailed written judgment, in order to explain his reasoning, particularly with regard to the questions raised in the Court of Arches judgment Re St. Alkmund Duffield, and their application to the subject matter of the present petition.

Re All Saints Winterton [2014] Mark Bishop Ch. (Lincoln)

A faculty had already been granted for the carrying out of an extensive reordering. This included the removal of an Edwardian font. The present proposal was to place a medieval font where the Edwardian font stood. Faculty granted. The Chancellor considered what should be done with the Edwardian font, pursuant to the first petition, which included in the schedule of works the burial of the Edwardian font where it stood. The Chancellor decided that it was not appropriate to bury the Edwardian font, but that it should be re-sited in another part of the church. The judgment contains a brief discussion about whether a church can have two fonts. The first petition was amended to delete the proposal to bury the Edwardian font.

Re All Saints Woodham [2022] ECC Gui 1

A new underfloor heating system was proposed for the church, and the proposals included replacing the wooden floor boards of the nave with hand-made tiles, and replacing the wood block flooring in the Lady Chapel with limestone. The Victorian Society was originally, on aesthetic grounds, against replacing the wooden floor boards  and the wood block flooring. However, the evidence of the Senior Project Consultant was that wood flooring over the underfloor heating would be less thermally efficient. At a meeting of the Victorian Society, the Church Building Council and the Diocesan Advisory Committee, a compromise version of the specification for the design of the tile flooring was agreed. The Chancellor granted a faculty.

Re All Saints Worcester [2019] ECC Wor 1

Having been through a period of decline, the Grade II* listed church had been revitalised in recent years, with 300 people attending weekly to worship in an evangelical style. The Petitioners wished to carry out a major reordering in stages, to create a multi-functional space for the church and the wider community. The first stage of the reordering involved the replacement of the pews with chairs, a servery and the moving of the font from near the main church door. The chair proposed was an Alpha SB2M", with a chromed metal frame and an upholstered seat and back. Most of the amenity societies consulted objected to the taking out of the pews and replacement with the proposed style of chair. The Victorian Society was a party opponent. The Chancellor was satisfied that a case had been made out for the servery and the replacement of the pews with the chosen chairs, and granted a faculty, but he did not consider that an adequate case had been made for the moving of the font.

Re Allerton Cemetery [2023] ECC Liv 3

The petitioner sought a faculty to authorise the exhumation of his father's cremated remains from the family plot of his mother's family and to reinter the remains in a new plot in which the petitioner's mother's cremated remains could be interred in due course. The Petitioner's mother had not realised at the time of her husband's death that there was only one space left in her family's plot. This had caused the petitioner's mother a lot of distress since the interment, as she wished her remains in due course to be buried with her husband's remains. The Deputy Chancellor determined that the circumstances of the present case were such as to warrant an exception to the general rule that human remains, once interred, should not be disturbed, and he accordingly granted a faculty.

Re An Application for Exhumation [2024] ECC Wor 2

A father and son had died together in 1977 and their ashes had been interred in a public cemetery. The father's widow applied for a faculty to authorise exhumation of the remains and their reinterment in a private burial ground with a view to creating a family grave where the remains of other members of the family could be interred. The Chancellor received reports from a psychotherapist and a general practitioner that the exhumation and reinterment would be beneficial to the mental well-being of one of the widow's daughters. The Chancellor granted a faculty, subject to a condition that the remains of the father and son, after such a long period, could be identified and fully removed.

Re An Application for the Exhumation

In 1984 the cremated remains of RM were interred in a churchyard. RM’s widow died in 2022 or 2023, and her cremated remains were still retained by her daughter. The daughter now wished to scatter the remains of both parents under a tree in her garden, in order to fulfil the wishes of her mother. Following the guidelines in Re Blagdon Cemetery [2002] Fam 299, Court of Arches, the Chancellor could not find any special circumstances that made this case sufficiently ‘exceptional’ to permit an exception to the rule of permanence of burial.

Re An Unnamed Burial Ground [2023] ECC Chi 2

The petitioner wished to have her mother's body exhumed from a consecrated burial ground in the Diocese of Chichester and reinterred in a consecrated burial ground in another diocese. The reason given by the petitioner was that the proximity of her mother’s grave to those of close family members of her ex-husband, who had been violent and abusive towards the petitioner and her children, was affecting her mental health and made it stressful for the petitioner and her children to visit the grave. There was medical evidence to support the Petitioner's state of health. The Chancellor granted a faculty, being satisfied that there were special circumstances which justified the making of an exception from the theological norm that Christian burial is final. In view of the sensitivity of the matter, the Chancellor decided to make the judgment anonymous and required that it should not be published until after the exhumation and reinterment had been carried out.

Re Astwood Cemetery [2014] Charles Mynors Ch. (Worcester)

Two petitions and two pending petitions relating to the exhumation of cremated remains, currently stored in a municipal cemetery on a temporary basis in non-biodegradable urns beneath plaques, on the expiration of the initial licences.  The chancellor considered the need for a faculty in such a situation, and indicated that he would be minded to grant a faculty where it could be shown that the original interment was never intended to be permanent. Faculties would also be granted in two cases on the basis of reinterment in a family grave elsewhere.

Re Astwood Cemetery [2016] ECC Wor 1

A faculty was sought to permit the exhumation of the remains of a husband, in order that they might be interred with the remains of his wife in another grave in the same cemetery. His wife had expressed a wish in her will to be buried with her husband, but her husband's remains had been interred in a family grave where there had previously been three interments and there was no more room for further interments. The Chancellor determined that the circumstances justified an exception to the general rule against exhumation, so as to create a family grave in which the remains of both husband and wife could be buried together.