Ecclesiastical Committee Contents



40. Section 1 amends the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986 so as to extend the right of parochial church councils to appoint lay representatives, for the purpose of approving proposed appointments of incumbents, to benefices where the patronage is exercisable by Her Majesty (either in right of the Crown of the Duchy of Lancaster) or by the possessor for the time being of the Duchy of Cornwall.

Matters raised before the Revision Committee and the General Synod

41. A significant difference between the Crown's rights of patronage and those of other patrons is that whilst in relation to non-Crown livings the right of presentation lapses after nine months to the Archbishop, in relation to Crown livings it does not. An open-ended requirement for parish representatives to approve the Crown's nominee had therefore been included in the draft Measure as being consistent with the Crown's open-ended right of presentation, an approach with which the Ministry of Justice had expressed agreement. However, the Revision Committee received a submission expressing concern at a perpetual right of "veto" being conferred on parish representatives in relation to Crown livings. That submission proposed instead that, as is the case with all other livings, the right of veto (a shorthand for the right to refuse to approve the making of an offer by the patron to present a priest to a benefice) should be lost after nine months.

42. The Committee was advised that because of the Crown's open-ended right of presentation, acceptance of that proposal would mean that it would in principle be open to the Crown to take no action in relation to a particular vacant living for nine months, and then simply to fill the vacancy however it wished, thereby circumventing the policy behind the draft Measure, that Ministers should no longer make the final decision in respect of Crown appointments (a point secured by giving the right of refusal to parish representatives).

43. The Committee's view was therefore that the proposed amendment should be rejected. In reaching this decision, the Committee was supported by correspondence received from both the Crown and the Duchy of Lancaster stating that as matters stand they do not in practice experience difficulty in reaching agreement with parishes on appointments, and that they do not foresee such difficulties arising in the future. The Committee also noted that if the Crown (or the Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall) took the view that parish representatives were abusing their rights, the Archbishop could always be asked to exercise his statutory power of review under section 13(5) of the 1986 Measure (for which see further below).

44. The Revision Committee also received a proposal for amendment from the Steering Committee for the Measure that related to the question of the Archbishop's power of review.

45. The extension to parochial church councils of Crown benefices of the right to appoint parish representatives with a right of refusal in relation to a proposed appointment of an incumbent is achieved in the Measure by extending certain provisions of sections 11 and 13 of the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986 to Crown benefices. One of those provisions is the section 13(5) right of the "registered patron" - in this case the Crown - to request the Archbishop to review the parish representatives' refusal to approve the patron's nominee. If such a request is made, having reviewed the matter the Archbishop may authorise the registered patron to present its candidate notwithstanding the refusal. This review provision is applied in the case of Crown benefices by the new section 35(1A)(d) of the 1986 Measure contained in section 1 of the Measure.

46. Where the Crown or either of the Duchies is the registered patron there was no difficulty with section 1 as it was originally drafted. The provision as drafted did not however apply to the exercise of the parish representatives' right of refusal when a right of presentation is exercised by the Crown (or, under clause 2 of the draft Vacancies in Suffragan Sees and Other Ecclesiastical Offices Measure, by the "relevant bishop") by virtue of the Crown's position as 'Guardian of Temporalities' during a vacancy in see. This is because in such a case the Crown is not the registered patron.

47. The Steering Committee considered that it would be undesirable to confer upon parish representatives an unreviewable right of refusal in relation to the Crown's vacancy in see patronage, when in relation to the Crown's ordinary patronage a refusal would be reviewable. It accordingly recommended to the Committee an amendment to what is now section 1 of the Measure so that, in relation to the Crown's vacancy in see patronage, the provisions of section 13(5) of the 1986 Measure applied by the new subsection (1A)(d) should apply as if the references to the registered patron in those provisions were references to Her Majesty. This would mean that the Crown could then seek a review in relation to a proposed vacancy in see appointment, and that if he thought fit the Archbishop could authorise the Crown to present its candidate notwithstanding the parish representatives' refusal to approve the Crown's nominee.

48. The Revision Committee accepted this recommendation. It has been given effect by the new subsection (1B) to be inserted in section 35 of the 1986 Measure.

49. No further proposals for amendment were made at the Revision Stage in full Synod.

50. At the Final Approval stage section 1(2) - which makes transitional provision - was added as a drafting amendment.


51. Section 4 provides for the citation, commencement and territorial extent of the Measure.

52. No amendments were proposed to this section either in the Revision Committee or in full Synod at the Revision Stage and none was made.


53. The Legislative Committee invites the Ecclesiastical Committee to issue a favourable report on the two Measures. In the event of the Ecclesiastical Committee requiring any further information or explanation, the Legislative Committee stands ready to provide this.

On behalf of the Legislative Committee

Philip Giddings (Deputy Chairman)

October 2009

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