Judgment Search


Click on one of the following to view and/or download the relevant document:

Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 4 June 2020

Index by Dioceses of all judgments on this web site, as at 4 June 2020



The Parish Council, which was responsible for the maintenance of the closed churchyard at Chithurst, wished to fell an ash tree, which was suffering from ash die-back, on the grounds that the disease might cause the tree to become dangerous within the next few years and cause damage to the church or passers-by. The proposal was opposed by two neighbours. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioners had made a good case for the felling of the tree and granted a faculty.

The petitioners wished to fell a holly tree in the churchyard, because the roots were damaging a table-top tomb dated 1791. They also wished to fell a failing ash tree and to reduce the crowns of two further holly trees encroaching on graves. A report by experts said that either the tomb or the holly tree next to it should be removed. There were living descendants of those commemorated by the tomb who did not want the tomb disturbed. The Chancellor decided that the preservation of the tomb in situ was more important than the preservation of the holly tree. He also agreed to the removal of the ash tree. As regards the remaining two holly trees, the Chancellor required to petitioners to take expert advice about more modest proposals for pruning the two trees.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the re-use of an area of the churchyard in which there were no memorials and where it was believed that there had been no burials for at least 75 years.

The Chancellor granted a faculty to authorise the re-use of an area of the churchyard in which there were no memorials and where it was believed that there had been no burials for at least 150 years.

The Chancellor granted a faculty for the sale to Westminster Council of an unconsecrated strip of land within the curtilage of the church. The judgment contains a discussion of the alternative ways of dealing with a conveyance of unconsecrated church curtilage.

Five yew trees, a conifer and a holly had been felled without the authority of a faculty. There had been an application for a faculty using the Online Faculty System. The petitioner (a churchwarden) had taken the approval of the Diocesan Advisory Committee to mean that a faculty would be granted. By the time the Chancellor visited the churchyard to inspect the trees, the trees had been removed. The Chancellor granted a confirmatory faculty, subject to a condition that
new native trees should be planted in the churchyard.

The Parochial Church Council petitioned for permission to remove all toys, ornaments and other memorabilia and edgings from 67 graves within the churchyard, many of which items had been in the churchyard for a considerable time. The Chancellor considered all written objections, including a claim that to remove such items would be in breach of the law relating to human rights, but decided that the PCC was entirely within its rights in wishing to enforce the Churchyard Regulations, and accordingly a faculty was granted.

A faculty was sought to allow an extension to the existing churchyard path, in order to facilitate access to an existing wooden bench in wet weather when the ground becomes very wet. There was one objection. The Deputy Chancellor granted a faculty.

The associate minister and a churchwarden wished to remove from the churchyard two cedar trees, which were situated within 2 metres of the northern wall of a plant room, adjacent to the vestry.   In recent years the trees have been causing problems, dropping a large amount of debris on the roof on the north side of the church, choking gutters and downpipes, and causing rainwater to cascade down the wall. The quinquennial inspection report had advised removal of the trees due to the rainwater issues and also damage caused by tree roots. A couple whlo lived in the parish submitted a letter of objection. The local authority had agreed to the two trees being removed (the churchyard being in a conservation area), subject to two replacement trees being planted in the churchyard. The Chancellor found that there was a convincing case for the removal of the trees and granted a faculty.

The petitioners wished to erect an octagonal extension with a link to the existing north door of the church to provide facilities for a clergy vestry, a meeting room with mezzanine, 2 WCs (including one for disabled), a kitchenette, choir robe store and general storage. This would involve building over graves and the moving of four upright stones and four kerb sets. Objections were received from six people whose family graves would be affected by the proposals. Faculty granted. Chancellor: "... in my judgment the petitioners have demonstrated a clear need for the proposed extension and I am satisfied from all the information available that the nature, design and location of the building are all entirely appropriate and fulfil the intended purpose. It is a matter of regret that established grave sites and markers will be affected by the erection of the new building, but I have reached the conclusion that the proposed extension is necessary if the mission and functioning of the church is to be maintained and developed and that the benefits for the church and for all who use it outweigh the adverse impact on the grave sites."