Faculty Jurisdiction Measure 1964

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citationmeasure 1964 No. 5


Faculty Jurisdiction Measure 1964

A MEASURE passed by the National Assembly of the Church of England to enable ecclesiastical courts to vest privately owned parts of churches in the persons in whom the churches are vested; to amend the law relating to the issue of faculties out of such courts concerning the demolition of churches and works affecting monuments in private ownership; to empower bishops to make certain licensed chapels subject to the faculty jurisdiction of such courts; to declare the law relating to the jurisdiction of such courts over the curtilage of churches; to limit the duration of rights of sepulture; to make better provision for the enforcement of orders as to costs and expenses; to repeal and re-enact the Faculty Jurisdiction Measure 1938, with amendments; and for other purposes connected therewith.

[15th April 1964]

Jurisdiction in Faculty Cases

Jurisdiction in Faculty Cases

S-1 Vesting of privately owned parts of churches in the persons in whom the churches are vested.

1 Vesting of privately owned parts of churches in the persons in whom the churches are vested.

(1) In this section ‘building’ means any building or structure forming part of and physically connected with a church and ‘incumbent’ means the incumbent of the benefice comprising the parish in which the church is situated.

(2) A court may in proceedings taken by an incumbent or parochial church council grant a faculty vesting any building in the person or body in whom the church is vested where the incumbent or parochial church council satisfies the court that:—

(i) the person in whom the church is vested is not the owner entitled to possession of the building or that there is reasonable doubt as to the ownership or right to possession thereof; and

(ii) the incumbent or parochial church council or some other person has taken all reasonable steps since, or shortly before, the commencement of the proceedings to communicate with all persons who may reasonably be supposed to have any rights of ownership or possession, whether absolute or limited, over the building; and

(iii) notwithstanding such reasonable steps there has been no communication with such person or persons or that all persons with whom communication has been made and who, on reasonable grounds, claim rights of ownership or possession over the building consent to the grant of a faculty under this section; and

(iv) no works of repair, redecoration or reconstruction have been executed upon the building by or on behalf of any person claiming any title thereto adverse to the title of the person in whom the church is vested during the seven years immediately preceding the commencement of the proceedings.

(3) In any proceedings for obtaining a faculty under this section the court may appoint a person being a solicitor to represent all persons other than those represented, known or unknown, who may have rights of ownership or possession over the building in question, and all proper costs of such solicitor in the proceedings shall be paid by the persons bringing the proceedings, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

(4) Where a faculty under this section is granted the building specified therein shall, by virtue of such faculty and without any further or other assurance or conveyance, vest in the person in whom the church is vested as part of the church for all purposes and any rights of property of any other person therein shall thereupon determine.

S-2 Faculties for demolition of churches.

2 Faculties for demolition of churches.

(1) The court shall not grant a faculty for the demolition or partial demolition of a church except on the grounds specified in this section and shall not grant a faculty under sub-section (2) of this section nor under paragraph (i) of subsection (3) of this section unless:—

(i) the person bringing proceedings for the faculty has, within the prescribed time, caused to be published in the ‘London Gazette’ and in such other newspapers as the court may direct a notice stating the substance of the petition for the faculty; and

(ii) an officer of the court has given notice in writing to the Council and the advisory committee of the diocese in which the church is situated of the petition; and

(iii) the judge of the court has thereafter considered such advice as the advisory committee has tendered to the court; and

(iv) the judge has heard evidence in open court, after application for the purpose has been made to the court in the prescribed manner, from:—

a ) a member of the Council or some person duly authorised by the Council; and
b ) any other person, unless in the opinion of the judge his application or the evidence which he gives is frivolous or vexatious

(2) The court may grant a faculty for the demolition of the whole or part of a church if the court is satisfied that another church will be erected on the site or curtilage of the church in question or part thereof to take the place of that church.

(3) A court may grant a faculty for the demolition or part of a church if it is satisfied that:—

(i) the part of the church left standing will be used for the public worship of the Church of England for a substantial period after such demolition; or

(ii) such demolition is necessary for the purpose of the repair, alteration or reconstruction of the part to be demolished or of the whole of the church.

Provided that a court shall not grant a faculty under paragraph (ii) of this sub-section unless an officer of the court has given notice in writing to the Council of the petition and the judge has considered any advice which the Council may tender to the court.

(4) A court may grant a faculty for the demolition or partial demolition of any church if, in respect of that church the following order has been made by a court of competent jurisdiction or any of the following notices has been served by the appropriate local authority:—

(i) an order under section fifty-eight of the Public Health Act 1936, requiring execution of such work as may be necessary to obviate danger from the condition of that church;

(ii) a notice requiring the taking down, repair or securing of that church given under sub-section (2) of section sixty-two of the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939, or under the provisions of any other local Act empowering the council of a county, city, borough or district to give such a notice on the grounds that a building or structure is dangerous;

(iii) a notice that the local authority propose to take immediate action to deal with the church as a dangerous building under section twenty-five of the Public Health Act 1961;

(iv) a notice requiring the execution of works of repair or restoration to the church under section twenty-seven of the Public Health Act 1961.

(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed as prejudicing or affecting the provisions of the Ancient Monuments Acts 1913 to 1953, or the Town and Country Planning Acts 1947 to 1959.

S-3 Faculties affecting monuments owned by persons withholding consent thereto.

3 Faculties affecting monuments owned by persons withholding consent thereto.

(1) This section shall apply to faculties for the moving, demolition, alteration or execution of other work to any monument erected, whether before or after the passing of this Measure, in or upon any church or other consecrated building or the curtilage thereof or upon consecrated ground other than consecrated burial grounds to which section eleven of the Open Spaces Act 1906, applies or has been applied.

(2) Subject to the provisions of the succeeding sub-section a court may grant a faculty to which this section applies:—

(i) although the owner of the monument withholds his consent thereto or cannot be found after reasonable efforts to find him have been made; and

(ii) in respect of a monument erected under a faculty or affecting which any faculty has been granted, whatever the date of such faculty.

(3) No faculty to which this section applies shall be granted if the owner of the monument in question withholds his consent thereto but satisfies the court that he is, within a reasonable time, willing and able to remove the monument (or so much thereof as may be proved to be his property) and to execute such works as the court may require to repair any damage to the fabric of any building or to any land caused by such removal. The court may upon a petition for a faculty to which this section applies, grant a faculty authorising such removal and for all purposes connected therewith and may make such orders as may be just as to the execution and cost of all necessary works.

(4) For the purposes of this section ‘monument’ includes a tomb, gravestone or other memorial and any kerb or setting forming part thereof, and ‘owner’ means the person who erected the monument in question and, after his death, the heir or heirs at law of the person or persons in whose memory the monument was erected and ‘property’ shall be construed accordingly.

S-4 Sale of books in parochial libraries under a faculty.

4 Sale of books in parochial libraries under a faculty.

(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in section ten of the Parochial Libraries Act 1708, any book in a parochial library appropriated to the use of the minister of any parish or place within the...

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