Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Diocese of Southwark and Others v Coker
    • Court of Appeal
    • 11 Jul 1997

    The critical point in this case is that an assistant curate is an ordained priest. The legal effect of the ordination of a person admitted to the order of priesthood is that he is called to an office, recognised by law and charged with functions designated by law in the Ordinal, as set out in the Book of Common Prayer. The Ordinal governs the form and manner for ordaining priests according to the Order of the Church of England.

    The legal implications of the appointment of an assistant curate must be considered in the context of that historic and special pre-existing legal framework of a church, and an ecclesiastical hierarchy established by law, of spiritual duties defined by public law rather than by private contract, and of ecclesiastical courts with jurisdiction over the discipline of clergy.

    Neither of them appointed him, removed him, controlled the performance of his functions, or had any contract with him. It was not contended that either of the vicars had a contract with Dr Coker. But that relationship, cemented by the Oath of Canonical Obedience, is governed by the law of the established church, which is part of the public law of England, and not by a negotiated, contractual arrangement.

  • Percy v Church of Scotland Board of National Mission
    • House of Lords
    • 15 Dic 2005

    In Re Employment of Church of England Curates [1912] 2 Ch 563, 568, 569, Parker J held that a curate in the Church of England was not employed under a 'contract of service' within Part I (a) of the First Schedule to the National Insurance Act 1911: 'the position of a curate is the position of a person who holds an ecclesiastical office, and not the position of a person whose rights and duties are defined by contract at all'.

    He said that special features surrounding the appointment and removal of a Church of England priest as an assistant curate, and surrounding the source and scope of his duties, preclude the creation of a contract 'unless a clear intention to the contrary is expressed': page 147. He then considered and rejected one by one the possible candidates for the role of employer in that case.

  • Davies v Presbyterian Church of Wales
    • House of Lords
    • 06 Mar 1986

    My Lords, it is possible for a man to be employed as a servant or as an independent contractor to carry out duties which are exclusively spiritual. He does not devote his working life but his whole life to the church and his religion. The law will ensure that a pastor is not deprived of his salaried pastorate save in accordance with the provisions of the book of rules but an industrial tribunal cannot determine whether a reasonable church would sever the link between minister and congregation.

  • Archbishop Michael George Bowen (1st Appellant) The Scout Association (2nd Appellant) v JL
    • Court of Appeal
    • 21 Feb 2017

    That would be to overlook the possibility that, had the defendant been in a position to deploy evidence now lost to him, the outcome might have been different.

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Books & Journal Articles
  • NOTES OF CASES
    • Núm. 23-2, Marzo 1960
    • The Modern Law Review
  • The Law of Abortion and Necessity
    • Núm. 2-2, Septiembre 1938
    • The Modern Law Review
  • Reviews
    • Núm. 31-2, Marzo 1968
    • The Modern Law Review
    Changing Concepts of Crime and its Treatment. Edited and introduced by Hugh J. Klare Some Problems of the Constitution. By Geoffrey Marshall and G. C. Moodie. Fourth Edition. Equity and the Law of ...
  • Void and Voidable Marriages
    • Núm. 27-4, Julio 1964
    • The Modern Law Review
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • Impacts Of A Disused Burial Ground On Development
    • Mondaq UK
    • 24 de Julio de 2019
    ......The site, therefore, was subject to Ecclesiastical Law as well as the laws of England. Notwithstanding that the works ... 2015: section 18A of the Care of Churches and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1991 provides that where one of two specified conditions are met ......
  • Real Estate Tip Of The Week - A Grave Matter
    • Mondaq UK
    • 11 de Noviembre de 2019
    ...... by the Church of England, their treatment is subject to ecclesiastical law and falls within the jurisdiction of the Consistory Court, otherwise ......
  • Regulation Of Cathedrals: The Proposal That Cathedrals Should Be Brought Within The Jurisdiction Of The Charity Commission
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    • 18 de Junio de 2014
    ...... The reason for the proposal. Anglican cathedrals are ecclesiastical corporations and thus wholly outside the framework of the Charities Act 2011. Although they are cathedrals as a matter of general law - and thus ......
  • (Re)Insurance Weekly Update 22 - 2015
    • Mondaq UK
    • 25 de Junio de 2015
    ......The insurer did not challenge jurisdiction. However, the policy limit was lower than the level of damages being ... COMMENT: This case approves the decision in Knapp v Ecclesiastical Group [1998], where an insurance policy was avoided after brokers failed ......
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