Faculty Jurisdiction

This page provides a set of links to useful materials on the Faculty Jurisdiction of the Church of England. This area of law concerns the regulation of the making if changes or alterations to church buildings, their contents and their curtilage. This section covers a very wide subject matter and links to core statutory and other materials are given below. Whereas it is hoped that these links will be of assistance to those applying the law in this area, it is acknowledged that, in such a diverse area of law, it is not possible to be comprehensive. Where matters are uncertain it is suggested that assistance may be sought from the relevant Diocesan Registrar. Contact details for your Diocesan Registrar can be found at http://www.diocesanregistry.co.uk.

Statutory Materials


  • Section F – things appertaining to churches

Legal Opinions of the Legal Advisory Commission of the Church of England

The Legal Advisory Commission of the Church of England has published a significant number of Opinions on various matters relating to Church Buildings, Churchyards and Faculties. Topics are diverse and include: monuments in churchyards, using churches for secular purposes, bells, clocks, the ecclesiastical exemption and sanctuary lights.

Many of these can be found in Parts 7, 8 and 11 of  Legal Opinions concerning the Church of England.

More recent Opinions are published online.

Other Guidance

The Church Buildings Council has published a significant number of Guidance Notes to assist parishes when making changes to their church buildings and churchyards. Once again, the subject matter is diverse and includes such things as archaeology, bats, accessibility, clocks, seating, art, heating, floors, disposal of significant articles etc. They are published here.


The website for the Ecclesiastical Law Association (the professional association for Diocesan Registrars) provides a crucial online resource in the form of a substantial library of decisions of the Consistory Courts and ecclesiastical appeal courts. Judgments are sorted by subject matter. Individual judgments can be searched for by name.

Key decisions (all of which can be found on the ELA website) include:

  • Re St Alkmund, Duffield[2013] Fam 158 – changes to listed buildings
  • Re St John the Baptist, Penshurst (Court of Arches, unreported, 9 March 2015) – changes to listed buildings
  • Re St Lawrence, Oakley with Wootton St Lawrence [2015] Fam 27 – disposal of church treasures
  • Re St Peter, Shipton Bellinger [2016] Fam 193 – changes to listed buildings
  • Re Blagon Cemetery[2002] Fam 299 – exhumation
  • Re Christ Church, Alsager[1999] Fam 142 – exhumation

Useful Publications

Other Resources