Our team provides responsive, practical and specialist advice in regard to a broad range of types of ecclesiastical property including redundant churches and churchyards, burial grounds, glebe land, parsonages, parochial church council land, church halls, schools and corporate property. In respect of property matters, members of the team have a wealth of experience in dealing with the following types of transaction:
- acquisitions and disposals on a freehold and leasehold basis
- redevelopment, both on a small scale (e.g. parsonage sites) and of large complex sites (e.g. redundant churches)
- landlord and tenant, including lease extensions, agricultural tenancies and other leasehold management matters
- adverse possession claims
- claims to acquire land by enfranchisement, e.g. places of worship
- property disputes
- (in regard to church schools the law of reverter, relocation and redevelopment, change of status, transfer of control agreements, pre-school facilities) education
- rights of way and other easements
- variation of covenants
- chancel repairs
- lease and licences under Faculties
As part of the faculty jurisdiction and linked with our holding the Registries of three dioceses within the firm, we have drafted many licences and leases under faculty, ranging from licences allowing connections to sewers within the curtilege of a church to leases under faculty permitting the use of a nave of a listed mediaeval church by the governing body of an adjoining church school.
We have also acted for a number of parochial church councils on property issues, including acquisition and disposal and on the impact of the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956 on the same.
We advise parochial church councils about their rights in respect of chancel repair liability and have experience of registering the liability against land burdened it. We also have experience of compounding chancel repair liability with the assistance of the Church Commissioners for England under the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Act 1923.