THE CROWN BENEFICES (PARISH REPRESENTATIVES)
SECTION 1 - AMENDMENT OF SECTION 35 OF THE PATRONAGE
(BENEFICES) MEASURE 1986
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.
SECTION 2 - CITATION, COMMENCEMENT AND EXTENT
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)