Burial and destruction of unwanted fonts – further clarification

Points arising from recent judgment on disposal of fonts

With allusions to Sydney Pollack’s 1969 award-winning film, our post They bury fonts, don’t they? considered the issues associated with the disposal of unwanted fonts raised in Re St. Peter Shipton Bellinger [2015] Winchester Const Ct, Christopher Clark Ch. In this case, three disposal options had been suggested: that it should be offered for sale; given to another church or chapel; or failing these options, buried in a convenient place in the churchyard. Although successfully appealed by the Victorian Society in the Arches Court, In Re St. Peter Shipton Bellinger [2015] Court of Arches, this latter judgment centred on the handling and determination of the case [“at every level almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong” [4]] rather than the burial or other disposal of the font. Nevertheless, the post gave rise to a valuable comment stream which we followed up in Last rites for fonts – continued.

The issue of the burial of fonts has been raised again recently in Re St Philip Scholes [2016] ECC Lee 5, and this post summarizes the review of the legal issues considered, the judgment of the court and the production of guidance by the Church Buildings Council.

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Non-Christian burial in consecrated ground: Re Quoc Tru Tran

The issue of burial and exhumation of a non-Christian in ground consecrated for Church of England burials has arisen once more.

The facts

In Re Quoc Tru Tran, deceased [2016] ECC Man 2, the children of Mr Tran, a Buddhist who died in 1994 and was buried in the consecrated section of Southern Cemetery, Manchester, sought a faculty to exhume his remains so that they migh be cremated and re-interred in a private vault in the Buddhist Temple of Manchester Fo Guan Shan.

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Law and religion round-up – 29th May

A week in which the Kirk held its annual General Assembly, the Government announced its promised review of sharia – and more on fonts and exhumations (but not simultaneously)…

The independent review into sharia

On Wednesday Home Secretary Theresa May launched the long-awaited independent review into sharia law in England and Wales, first mooted in March 2015. Almost simultaneously, Baroness Cox presented her private Peer’s bill, the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill, which she has promoted unsuccessfully on previous occasions.

Both seem to point to an issue that appears (to us, at least) exceedingly difficult to resolve. Continue reading

UK Government launches independent review into sharia

Home Secretary Theresa May has launched the promised independent review into sharia law in England and Wales. The review will be chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui, OBE FRSE, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She will lead a panel that includes Sir Mark Hedley, Chancellor of the Diocese of Liverpool and a former High Court judge, family law barrister Sam Momtaz and specialist family lawyer Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE QC (hon), a partner with Dawson Cornwell solicitors. The panel will be advised by two religious and theological experts: Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi and Imam Qari Asim. Continue reading

Wind turbines in Cornwall – diocese support for Good Energy appeal

Have circumstances changed since Church’s experience in Devon?

In one of our early posts  “Shrinking the Footprint” – But not in rural Devon  we reported on the problems experienced with the proposed installation of two small agricultural-sized wind turbines in each of the parishes of East Anstey, and Chittlehampton & Black Torrington. Following last week’s headline in the Church Times Diocese backs wind farm despite local opposition it is pertinent to examine how attitudes towards climate change (and wind turbines in particular) have changed over the intervening four years.  Continue reading

Jehovah’s Witnesses and discrimination: JWs Association v Turkey

The background

In Jehovah’s Witnesses Association and Ors v Turkey [2016] ECHR 453 the facts were as follows. For many years, the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in İzmir and Mersin had been allowed to worship in private premises. The authorities in both cities then decided to close down their prayer rooms on the grounds that the Urban Planning Act (Law no. 3194) prohibited worship in premises that were not designated for that purpose and imposed certain conditions on the building of places of worship. Continue reading

Ecclesiastical exemption: where things stand in the four jurisdictions

In view of the fact that the ecclesiastical exemption from listed building controls has become a matter of some political interest in both Northern Ireland and Wales, we thought it might be useful to provide an overview of how things currently stand across the four jurisdictions.


In England (and currently in Wales), the “listed denominations” under the Ecclesiastical Exemption (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (England) Order 2010 are exempt from listed building controls. Currently, the listed denominations in England are the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union and the United Reformed Church. Continue reading