Clergy Discipline Act 1892

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1892 c. 32


Clergy Discipline Act, 1892

(55 & 56 Vict.) CHAPTER 32.

An Act for better enforcing Discipline in the Case of Crimes and other Offences against Morality committed by Clergymen.

[27th June 1892]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

S-1 Effect of conviction of clergyman for treason, felony, or grave misdemeanours, or for certain other offences.

1 Effect of conviction of clergyman for treason, felony, or grave misdemeanours, or for certain other offences.

(1)1.—(1.) If either—

(a ) a clergyman is convicted of treason or felony, or is convicted on indictment of a misdemeanour, and on any such conviction is sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour or any greater punishment, or

(b ) an order under the Acts relating to bastardy is made on a clergyman, or

(c ) a clergyman is found in a divorce or matrimonial cause to have committed adultery, or

(d ) an order for judicial separation is made against a clergyman in a divorce or matrimonial cause, or

(e ) a separation order is made against a clergyman under the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1878 ;

then, after the date at which the conviction, order, or finding becomes conclusive, the preferment (if any) held by him shall, within twenty-one days, without further trial be declared by the bishop to be vacant as from the mid date, and he shall be incapable, save as in this Act mentioned, of holding preferment.

(2) (2.) Provided that if when so convicted he receives a free pardon from the Crown his incapacity shall cease, and if he receives the pardon before the institution of another clergyman to such preferment the bishop shall, within twenty-one days after receiving notice in writing of such pardon, again institute him and cause him to be inducted into the preferment, and no fee shall be payable to any person whomsoever in respect thereof.

(3) (3.) If any act required under this section to be done by a bishop is not done within the said twenty-one days it shall be done by or under the authority of the archbishop of the province.

S-2 Complaint against clergyman for immorality.

2 Complaint against clergyman for immorality.

2. If a clergyman either is convicted by a temporal court of having committed an act constituting an ecclesiastical offence, and the foregoing section does not apply to him, or is alleged to have been guilty of any immoral act, immoral conduct, or immoral habit, or of any offence against the laws ecclesiastical, being an offence against morality and not being a question of doctrine or ritual, he may be prosecuted by any of the parishioners of the parish in which such clergyman holds preferment, or by the bishop of the diocese, or by any person approved by the bishop, and tried in the consistory court of the diocese in which he holds preferment, and may be so prosecuted and tried in accordance with the prescribed procedure, subject as follows:—

a .) If the complaint made against the clergyman appears to the bishop of the diocese to be too vague or frivolous to justify proceedings he shall disallow the prosecution
b .) The prosecutor may at any stage of the proceedings be ordered to give security for costs, unless the offence alleged in the prosecution is one of which the clergyman has been convicted by a temporal court
c .) If any question of fact (other than the fact of the conviction of a temporal court) has to be determined, and either party to a case so requires, five assessors shall be chosen in the prescribed manner, and shall, for deciding a question of fact, be members of the court; and the decision of such question must either be the unanimous decision of the assessors, or that of the chancellor and at least a majority of the assessors
d .) If no such decision is arrived at, the case shall, if either party so desires, be retried as soon as possible, with assessors chosen as before, saw that no assessors who acted at the former trial shall act as assessors on the retrial:
e .) The chancellor on any trial shall preside, and shall alone determine any question of law, and also any question of costs, and whether the question is one of law or of fact shall be deemed to be a question of law.
S-3 Election of and mode of choosing assessors.

3 Election of and mode of choosing assessors.

(1)3.—(1.) The assessors shall be chosen in the prescribed manner from the list of assessors who shall be elected as soon as possible after the commencement of this Act, and every three years afterwards, as follows (that is to say):—

(a .) Three shall be elected from their own number by the members of the cathedral church of the diocese;

(b .) Four shall be elected from their own number by the beneficed clergy of each archdeaconry in the diocese; and

(c .) Five shall be elected from the justices of the county by the court of quarter sessions of each county wholly in the diocese, and of such of the counties partly in the diocese as may be prescribed.

(2) (2.) Provided that—

(a .) The consent of an assessor to serve shall be obtained before he is elected; and

(b .) If an assessor ceases to be one of the body from whom he is elected, or resigns, or dies, or becomes incapable of acting, the chancellor may declare a vacancy, and thereupon the vacancy may be filled by another election.

(3) (3.) When the presence of assessors is required, three clergymen and two laymen shall be chosen out of the assessors on the said list by ballot conducted by the registrar in the presence of such (if any) of the parties as desire to be present by themselves or their representatives.

(4) (4.) The assessors chosen shall be bound to attend when required, and if anyone fails so to attend without a reasonable excuse satisfactory to the chancellor he shall be disqualified for acting or being elected again as assessor, and the chancellor shall declare a vacancy, and the vacancy shall be filled by a new election.

(5) (5.) If any assessor is objected to by either party for reasons approved by the chancellor, he shall be discharged from serving.

(6) (6.) If by reason of any objection or of non-attendance or otherwise the requisite number of assessors is not obtained before the trial, the chancellor shall, if there is time, cause a clergyman or layman, as the case may require, to be chosen from the list of assessors by another ballot, but, if there is not time, shall appoint some clergyman or layman, as the case may require, who is willing to serve, and is not objected to by either party for cause shown and deemed sufficient by the chancellor, to make up the full number of five assessors.

S-4 Appeals on question of law or fact.

4 Appeals on question of law or fact.

(1)4.—(1.) Either party to a case may appeal against any judgment of a consistory court under this Act in respect of any matter of law.

(2) (2.) If a defendant desires to appeal against any judgment of a consistory court under this Act in respect of the facts, he may petition for leave to appeal, and if he satisfies the appellate court that there is a prim facie case leave shall be given, and he may appeal.

(3) (3.) An appeal against any interlocutory judgment under this Act, not having the force or effect of a definitive sentence upon the merits of the case, shall not be allowed except by leave of the court.

(4) (4.) An appeal or petition under this section shall be within the prescribed time and in accordance with the prescribed rules, and may (at the option of the appellant or petitioner) be to the provincial court or to Her Majesty the Queen in Council, but if to the provincial court the decision of that court shall be final.

(5) (5.) If there is an appeal, the sentence shall be suspended until the appeal is determined or abandoned, and for the purpose of any inhibition be deemed not to have been given.

S-5 Limitation of prosecutions and conclusiveness of conviction, &c.

5 Limitation of prosecutions and conclusiveness of conviction, &c.

(1)5.—(1.) A complaint under this Act for an offence shall not be made after five years from the date of the offence, or of the last of a series of acts alleged as part of the offence, except that complaint may be made within two years after a conviction by a temporal court becomes conclusive.

(2) (2.) A conviction, order, or finding shall become conclusive for the purposes of this Act—

(a ) where there has been any appeal...

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