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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



In December 2015 the Chancellor granted a Faculty reserving a gravespace for the petitioners, who were not residents in the parish. The Chancellor placed a limit of 12 years on the reservation, as it was expected that the churchyard would be full within 12 years, and the Chancellor did not wish to prejudice the rights of burial of parishioners and others with a

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the reservation of a grave space for the petitioner's mother (not a parishioner), there being only four or five empty grave spaces left in the churchyard.

In 1997 the deceased had requested the reservation of the grave at the foot of the grave of her late husband. Owing to an administrative mistake the wrong plot number was allocated, but the deceased did not realise that the grave number was incorrect. At the funeral, the family realised that the grave for the deceased had been dug in the wrong place, but felt unable to do other than proceed with the funeral. They subsequently sought a faculty for exhumation and reinterment in the intended grave. The Chancellor was satisfied that a genuine mistake had been made, which could be regarded as an exception to the presumption of permanence of burial. He therefore granted a faculty for exhumation and reinterment, in order to correct the error.

The petitioner applied for a faculty giving her the right to be buried in the same grave as her former partner, with whom she had lived for 25 years until his death in 1986. The family of the deceased's first partner, who died in 1957, objected to the petitioner having the right to be buried in the same grave as their father, there having been a division between the two families. The Chancellor declined to grant a faculty: "In my judgment the dispute between the parties weighs in favour of non-intervention."

In 1953 a faculty had been granted to the petitioner's grandfather to permit the erection of a memorial and the creation of a vault reserving to the petitioner's grandfather and the members of his family the right of burial in the vault. The present petitioner's grandparents and other deceased members of the family had since been buried in the vault. There were six shelves in the vault, of which four had been used. The petitioner wished to reserve the remaining two shelves for the burial of himself and his fiancee. The petitioner's cousin objected to a faculty being granted on the grounds that the reservations would prevent any further members of the family (who might predecease the petitioner and his fiancee) from being placed in the vault, and because she felt that the terms of the orginal faculty limited the right of interment to direct descendants only. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty, but directed that (a) a person who married into the family would be eligible to be buried in the vault; (b) an interment should be treated as including the placing of cremated remains in the vault; and (c) if "space remains on any given shelf for the seemly custody of the cremated remains of more than one person then it is permissible for there to be such remains of more than one person on each shelf in the vault."

The petitioner wished to reserve a triple-depth grave for himself, his brother and his sister. The Parochial Church Council("the PCC") was opposed to the reservation of the grave, as it had maintained a policy of not supporting the reservation of gravespaces for at least forty years. The Chancellor found that there were exceptional reasons to allow the grant of a faculty: (1) the grave would be for three family members; (2) the graveyard already contained the graves of a number of members of the petitioner’s family; (3) there were concerns (undisclosed in the judgment) which were personal to the petitioner. The Chancellor also noted that, notwithstanding the policy of the PCC, members of the PCC were sympathetic to the petitioner's request.

The petitioner, a non-parishioner, wished to reserve a grave space in the churchyard for herself and her partner, next to the plot in which her father was buried. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty. There were only 50 available spaces, and burials averaged 7 a year. The petitioner, aged 31, was unlikely to die before the remaining spaces were required within about 7 years' time by those legally entitled to be buried in the churchyard, and so a reservation would prevent parishioners being buried in the remaining spaces.

The petitioner wished to reserve a grave in the churchyard. She had lived in a house overlooking the churchyard for 51 years. Her mother was buried in the churchyard and it was proposed that in due time her father would be buried in the same grave as her mother. In February 2017 the Parochial Church Council had resolved unanimously that it would not support

he petitioner wished to reserve a grave next to that of her late husband. Since before the interment of the petitioner's late husband, the Parochial Church Council had had an informal policy of not supporting any further reservations of graves, in view of the small number of available grave spaces left in the detached burial ground. The Chancellor decided that this was not a case where there were special circumstances to justify him in acting against the established policy of the PCC. He therefore refused to grant a faculty to reserve the grave next to the petitioner's late husband's grave. However, in a note attached to the petition, the Chancellor recorded that he had had a discussion with the parish priest with a view to seeing what could be done by way of pastoral provision. The parish priest agreed that the gravespace next to the grave of the petitioner's husband would be the last space to be used in this burial ground, unless before then it came to be used for the interment of the remains of the petitioner.

Faculty refused for the reservation of a grave space for the petitioner's children, none of whom had a legal right to be buried in the churchyard. The PCC objected on the ground that the grave would be in the way of a proposed extension to the churchyard, and the Team Rector, for the same reason, would not give consent. The Chancellor stated that, where a person does not have a legal right of burial, the consent of the incumbent is required.