Logan v Presbytery of Dumbarton

CourtCourt of Session (Outer House)
Judgment Date26 April 1995

Outer House of the Court of Session

Before Lord Osborne

Presbytery of Dumbarton

Ecclesiastical law - Church of Scotland - jurisdiction of church courts and civil courts

Separation of Church and State

The Church of Scotland Act 1921 amounted merely to the recognition by Parliament of the powers of the courts of the Church of Scotland.

Those powers not having been granted to the church by Parliament, the civil courts had no jurisdiction to review proceedings in the church courts concerning spiritual matters. In any event, the terms of the 1921 Act excluded such review.

Lord Osborne, sitting in the Outer House of the Court of Session, so held, recalling an interlocutor in a petition for judicial review brought by the Rev Thomas Logan against the Presbytery of Dumbarton pronouncing, inter alia, decree of suspension ad interim of deliverances of the presbytery which provided, inter alia, that he should abstain from the exercise of his office as minister pending disposal of a libel brought against him, and appointing an interim moderator to the Parish of Clydebank.

Article IV of the Articles Declaratory of the Constitution of the Church of Scotland in Matters Spritual, in the Church of Scotland Act 1921, provides, inter alia:

"This Church, as part of the Universal Church wherein the Lord Jesus Christ has appointed a government in the hands of Church office-bearers, receives from Him, its Divine King and Head, and from Him alone, the right and power subject to no civil authority to legislate, and to adjudicate finally, in all matters of doctrine, worship, government, and discipline in the Church…

"Recognition by the civil authority of the separate and independent government and jurisdiction of this Church in matters spiritual, in whatever manner such recognition be expressed, does not in any way affect the character of this government and jurisdiction as derived from the Divine Head of the Church alone, or give to the civil authority any right of interference with the proceedings or judgments of the Church within the sphere of its spiritual government and jurisdiction."

Mr Iain Bonomy, QC, for the Rev Mr Logan, Mr Alistair Dunlop, QC, for the presbytery.

LORD OSBORNE said that the petitioner had been indicted by the respondents for contravening the presbytery's refusal of permission to engage in certain activities.

He sought judicial review of deliverances issued in those proceedings, on the ground of denial of natural justice. In...

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1 cases
  • Percy v Church of Scotland Board of National Mission
    • United Kingdom
    • House of Lords
    • 15 December 2005
    ...the Church's exclusive jurisdiction in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, a jurisdiction upheld by the Outer House in Logan v Presbytery of Dumbarton 1995 SLT 1228. Rather it is to recognise, to adopt the words of the Lord President in the present case, that by entering into a contra......

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