Ecclesiastical Law in UK Law

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

    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.

    The distinction in law between an employee, who enters into a contract with an employer, and an office-holder, who has no employer but holds his position subject to rules dealing with such matters as his duties, the term of his office, the circumstances in which he may be removed and his entitlement to remuneration, is well established and understood. One of the oldest offices known to the law is that of constable.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Various Claimants v The Catholic Child Welfare Society and Others
    • Supreme Court
    • 21 Nov 2012

    The relationship that gives rise to vicarious liability is in the vast majority of cases that of employer and employee under a contract of employment. The employer will be vicariously liable when the employee commits a tort in the course of his employment. There is no difficulty in identifying a number of policy reasons that usually make it fair, just and reasonable to impose vicarious liability on the employer when these criteria are satisfied:

  • Preston (formerly Moore) v President of the Methodist Conference
    • Supreme Court
    • 15 May 2013

    The primary considerations are the manner in which the minister was engaged, and the character of the rules or terms governing his or her service. But, as with all exercises in contractual construction, these documents and any other admissible evidence on the parties' intentions fall to be construed against their factual background. Part of that background is the fundamentally spiritual purpose of the functions of a minister of religion.

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Books & Journal Articles
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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 proposed in this case were most unlikely to disturb human remains, the grant of ......
  • Real Estate Tip Of The Week - A Grave Matter
    • Mondaq UK
    • 11 de Noviembre de 2019
    ......Where remains are found on land which has been consecrated by the Church of England, their treatment is subject to ecclesiastical law and falls within the jurisdiction of the Consistory Court, otherwise secular controls apply to non-consecrated land. In relation to ......
  • The Bones Of Richard III
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    • 5 de Junio de 2013
    ...... It is in any case a common law offence to disinter a dead body without lawful authority and it is an offence against ecclesiastical law to remove the remains of the dead from consecrated ground without a faculty. The Leicester Greyfriars Church was undoubtedly consecrated at the ......
  • Technical Corner - Will Specialty Debts Become Less Special?
    • Mondaq United Kingdom
    • 22 de Mayo de 2013
    ......This is based on a common law principle originally established in the ecclesiastical courts that debts created under seal are capable of independent existence. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) shared this view of debts made by deed until ......
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