The Consistory Court deals mainly with the 'Faculty Jurisdiction' relating to consecrated land and buildings within the Diocese of Lichfield - this includes most Church of England churches and churchyards, a number of unconsecrated chapels and the consecrated parts of Local Authority cemeteries. The Chancellor of the Diocese of Lichfield is The Honourable Mr. Justice Eyre. The Deputy Chancellor is Dr Anthony Verduyn; they sit as the Judges of the Consistory Court. The Registry enables the work of both Consistory Court and Registrar.
The jurisdiction covers the equivalent of listed building consent for the building and a variety of planning related matters. Any work to a church has to be authorised either under a Faculty or by a permission through List A or List B It also operates to ensure that churches and churchyards are managed appropriately in relation to certain secular issues such as wayleaves and rights of way. However the range of matters covered is very broad indeed and you will find a guidance note as to some of the more unusual aspects of the Faculty Jurisdiction under the heading of Faculty Jurisdiction. In the first instance, guidance should be obtained from the Diocesan Advisory Committee staff, but the Registry is always happy to respond to questions.
Most applications to the court are dealt with on paper without the need for a formal hearing. Operating this way reduces the costs to applicants and parties opponent but the Chancellor and Registrars will ensure that all relevant voices are heard. However, contested cases and cases involving unusual issues of law are dealt with at formal hearings.
General Faculty information: we have included a note about unusual faculty matters, which crop up occasionally. The list is not in any sense exhaustive but is designed to assist clergy to understand the breadth of the system of control. The system exists to ensure that proper consideration and authorisation is given for appropriate things to be done it is not intended to prevent them being done.
(For general questions about Parochial faculties, please make contact with the DAC office).
For ease of reference we include a copy of the Lists A and B from the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015, and the Additional Matters Order made by the Chancellor of the Diocese which is a list of works etc. that the Chancellor has said may be carried out (subject to conditions expressed in the list) without a formal Faculty being needed. It supplements Lists A and B of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules. Some matters within the Additional Matters Order relate to churchyard memorials and their repair and maintenance.
Most applications to the Court are made by the Incumbent and PCC or Churchwardens and relate to the church or churchyard. These are dealt with through the On-line Faculty System which the DAC manages, and reference should be made to the Diocesan Advisory Committee departmental section of this website. Parochial Faculty petitions are paid for by the Diocese. This arrangement covers works proposed and petitioned for by the Incumbent Churchwardens or PCC under the Online Faculty System. The diocese does not pay for petitions to confirm work carried out without prior authorisation (i.e. confirmatory faculties), but will cover interim faculty petitions. The diocese does not pay for the parochial costs of contested faculty matters, or for those cases which are of such a nature that the Chancellor requires a hearing for any reason.
However some applications are made by private petitioners, to deal with requests for such matters as:
- specific memorials (which the Incumbent is unable or unwilling to authorise under the Churchyard Regulations, which can be accessed through the links below),
- reservations of grave spaces in churchyards,
- burials of cremated remains in closed churchyards, and
- the exhumation of remains from churchyards.
For guidance about each of these kinds of applications and the forms to petition please see the separate section on this subject called 'Private Individuals' Faculty Petitions'.
- 'Unusual' faculties
- Telecommunications Guidance Note
- Contested or Controversial Faculty Guidance
- Planning Implications for Listed Buildings and Curtilages
- Guidance on Temporary Minor Reordering Licences
- The Movement of 'Articles' Guidance Note
- Public Notice for the Movement of 'Articles'
List A and B and Additional Matters Order
- List A and B (with effect from 1 April 2020)
- Additional Matters Order (with effect from 2nd July 2020)
- Additional Matters Order (with effect from 1st January 2021)
- Additional Matters Order (with effect from 7th January 2021)