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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

Graves

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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.

The Petitioners sought to reserve a grave in the churchyard next to the grave of their daughter. The priest in charge and churchwardens became parties opponent, objecting to the reservation on the grounds that the PCC had for many years had a policy of resisting the reservation of gravespaces and of operating a “first come first served” approach, which many parishioners had followed. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty on the basis that, where there was a long-standing PCC policy in place, he should not override that policy unless there was an exceptional reason for doing so. To grant a faculty in this case "would be to create the risk of real injustice to others who in circumstances of loss have themselves accepted the existing policy".

The petitioners, who had lived in the parish since 1978, applied to reserve a double grave. At an unspecified date since 1978, the PCC had adopted a policy of not supporting future grave reservations. The Chancellor granted a faculty, as he was satisfied that the couple had been given the impression before the policy was adopted that they would be able to be buried in the churchyard: "It would be unreasonable, in my view in all the circumstances not to honour that indication."

The PCC had passed a resolution in 2009 that it would not support future applications for the reservation of graves, as it was estimated that the churchyard would be full within ten years. The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the reservation of a grave for a parishioner and his wife, who wished to be buried in a grave next to the Pet‭itioner's mother: "I have

There was an application for a faculty to create a grave in the east end of the north aisle of the Grade I church for the reburial of the remains of Capt. Matthew Flinders, the  famous navigator and cartographer, and the installation of a new ledger stone above the grave. Capt. Flinders' coffin, bearing his name, had been discovered in 2019 during HS2 works to expand Euston Station, and the proposal was to return his remains to the town where he was born. The churchyard had been closed for burials from 1 August 1865, but an Order in Council in 2020 added an exception to the original Order in Council, to allow the interment of Capt. Flinders' remains in the north aisle of the church. The Chancellor determined that, notwithstanding the 2020 Order in Council, a faculty was still needed to authorise the interment in the church, and there needed to be exceptional circumstances to allow an interment inside the church. He decided that the circumstances were exceptional, and that allowing the burial in church would not set a precedent, as the Orders in Council prevented any further burials. He therefore granted a faculty.

The petitioner wished to reserve a grave space in the churchyard next to the grave of her father. Several of her relatives were buried in the churchyard. The petitioner did not live in the parish, but in another parish in the same benefice, and she was not on the church electoral roll. The Parochial Church Council (PCC) had had a policy for at least 15 years of not supporting applications for the reservation of graves, as a result of which several letters of objection from parishioners were received in response to this application. The Chancellor determined that the PCC's policy was not unreasonable, and he could find no sufficient grounds to go against the policy. He therefore refused to grant a faculty.

The four petitioners (one of whom wished to be cremated) petitioned to reserve exclusive rights of burial for 30 years in a triple-depth grave next to their parents' grave. The churchyard only had space for burials for 20 years. The Chancellor granted a faculty, but limited the reservation to 20 years.

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.