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Alphabetical Index of all judgments on this web site as at 20 January 2022

Index by Dioceses of 2021 judgments on this web site.



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 petitioners wished to reserve a double-depth grave in the churchyard. In 2016 the Parochial Church Council had decided on a policy of not supporting further reservations of grave spaces, owing to the relatively small number of available spaces left. Though granting a faculty on the particular facts of the present case, the Chancellor took the view that the period of a reservation should not  extend beyond the time when there would be about five years' worth of space left available. In the present case the Deputy Chancellor decided that the appropriate time limit to be placed on the reservation should be six years. The Deputy Chancellor commented that there had been a number of informal reservations allowed by a previous incumbent and that these informal reservations had no legal effect, so that the graves informally reserved were available for burials of anyone having a right of burial.

The petitioner, who did not live in the parish and therefore had no legal right to be buried in it, wished to reserve a double depth grave in the churchyard for himself and his wife, next to the grave of their son, who had died in a tragic accident at the age of 24. The associate priest objected (without becoming a party opponent) on the grounds that spaces for burial were limited and since 2021 the parish had had a policy of not approving further grave reservations, as the churchyard was likely to be full within about six years. In the circumstances, the Chancellor felt it would be unfair to override the parish policy and refused to grant a faculty.

The petitioner wished to reserve a double grave for herself and her partner. The petitioner had been resident in the parish until 2013, the remains of her father and stillborn child were buried in the churchyard, and all her immediate family still lived in the area. The normal period allowed for reservation of a grave in the diocese was 25 years. Evidence suggested that there was room for further burials only for a further 7 to 10 years. The Chancellor granted a faculty, but limited it to 10 years, giving permission to the petitioner to apply for an extension within 6 months of the expiry of the 10 years. The judgment contains a review of decisions relating to grave reservations by other Chancellors, including cases where Parochial Church Councils had adopted policies of not supporting grave reservations.

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.

The Court refused to grant leave to appeal in respect of the judgment of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester, dated 4 August 2015, when the Chancellor refused to grant a faculty giving the petitioner the right to have her ashes interred in the grave of her late partner, the wife and two daughters of the deceased partner having objected to the grant of a faculty.

The Chancellor refused to grant a faculty giving the petitioner the right to have her ashes interred in the grave of the late partner she had been living with for 2-3 years. The wife and two daughters of the deceased partner had objected.

The petitioner, a parishioner, whose parents and grandparents were buried in the churchyard, wished to reserve a grave space for herself and her partner. The Parochial Church Council, a few days before the date of the petition, had, without giving notice to parishioners, decided to adopt a policy of no grave reservations, even though there was said to be enough room in the churchyard for burials for the next 50 years. The Chancellor was satisfied that the petitioner had made a good case for the reservation of a grave and granted a faculty.

Three siblings, who had moved away from the parish, applied for a faculty to reserve two grave spaces next to their mother's grave. At a meeting of seven members of the Parochial Church Council ("PCC"), when a vote on the request for reservations was taken, two couples voted against the proposal on various grounds, including that there were spaces left for only 10 years of burials; the applicants never attended the church or contributed to it;  and the PCC had a 'first-come-first-served' policy. The Chancellor was satisfied that the PCC had never passed a resolution for such a policy. He also said that the family's contributions to the life of the local community should be considered as of equal weight to any financial contributions which they could have, but did not in fact, make to the Church. The Chancellor granted a faculty.