Judgment Search

Downloads

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

Graves

Display:

The petitioners wished to reserve a grave in the churchyard of Hulme Walfield. They did not live in the parish. In Schedule 2 of the petition it was indicated that the incumbent and Churchwardens did not consent to the reservation. The Chancellor declined to grant a faculty on the basis that a burial of a non-parishioner could only take place with the consent of the incumbent, who should have regard to any general guidance given by the PCC (s 6(2) of the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 1976). So to grant a faculty would be to subvert the purpose of Section 6(2) of the 1976 measure, since the reservation of a grave by faculty would override the minister’s power to give or withhold consent to the eventual burial of non-parishioners.

A Faculty was refused for the reservation of a grave space, as there were few empty graves left in the churchyard.

During the parish priest's absence, whilst attending a course, a burial took place in the closed churchyard. Prior to his absence, the priest had told the funeral director and the family that a burial could not take place, unless in accordance with one of the exceptions in the Order in Council closing the churchyard for burials, namely: (1) where a grave had been reserved by faculty; (2) where a person could be buried in the same grave as a relative. (Also, cremated remains can be buried in a closed churchyard.) The funeral director arranged for the deceased to be buried next to the deceased's brother in a tight space between two graves. The Chancellor determined that the interment was unlawful, and could not be made lawful retrospectively by the Ministry of Justice or the court, but he decided that no action should be taken to disturb the burial or to refer the matter for police investigation.

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty for the reservation of a double grave, as there were very few empty grave spaces left in the churchyard.

The petitioners wished to reserve a grave in the churchyard next to the grave of their son. Two parishioners objected: one, on the grounds that the churchyards regulations did not allow a grave reservation; and the other, on the grounds that the reservation would create a gap in a row of graves. The Chancellor granted a faculty. The first objector had misunderstood the purpose of the churchyard regulations, which did not prohibit a grave reservation, and, as regards the second objection, there would be only a modest effect on the appearance of the churchyard. The petitioners (who were in their 60s) were parishioners and entitled to be buried in the churchyard; there was sufficient room for burials for approximately thirty years; and there was a good reason for the petitioners wishing to be buried next to their son.

The petitioner wished to reserve a grave space in the churchyard for himself and his wife. They lived in the parish and had relatives buried in the churchyard, including their daughter, who had died in a road traffic accident at the age of 26. The Parochial Church Council did not support the application, as it had exercised a policy for some time of not supporting grave reservations. It was estimated that the churchyard would be full in 18 years' time. The Chancellor decided that there were exceptional circumstances justifying the grant of a faculty.

In 2010 the petitioner had approached the then Rector regarding the reservation of a grave for himself and his wife. The Rector subsequently wrote to the petitioner to say that the grave in question had been reserved, though in fact no faculty had been granted. In 2015 the PCC refused to support another application for the reservation of a grave, and the Chancellor had refused a faculty in January 2016, on the grounds that the churchyard was almost full of burials and closure was contemplated. When the present petitioner became aware in 2017 of the PCC's refusal to support a faculty in 2015, he was upset, firstly, that he had not been advised in 2010 that a faculty was required, and, secondly, that a ‘precedent’ appeared to have been set by a refusal of a reservation in 2015/16. He applied nevertheless for a faculty. The Chancellor granted a faculty in the special circumstances of the case, making it clear that he did not do so as a result of the petitioner's position as a reader in the parish, but because since 2010 the petitioner and his wife had entertained a reasonable expectation that their burial arrangements had lawfully been approved.

A married couple had applied for a Faculty to reserve a grave space in the churchyard. The PCC had decided on a general policy of not supporting the reservation of graves. The Chancellor determined that, in the absence of an exceptional reason (there being none in this case) for him to act contrary to the PCC policy, he should not allow a faculty to be granted to reserve a grave.