On 9th February 2015, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry, answered a written question from Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George, on the subject of chancel repair liability.
Andrew George (St Ives): To ask the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, pursuant to the Answer of 30 January 2015 to Question 222329, how many (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful claims have been made by parochial church councils in court against lay rectors for recovery of chancel repair liability from 1 January 1985; and what amount was recovered. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Sir Tony Baldry): I refer to the answer I gave to Written Question 222328. Each Parochial Church Council is an independent legal entity and no central record is kept relating to the number of claims made against lay rectors for the recovery of chancel repair liability as this is dealt with at a local parish level. The Church Commissioners are only aware of the case where the Parochial Church Council of Aston Cantlow and Wilmcote with Billesley was awarded £187,000 plus VAT.
On 30th January 2015, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, answered three written questions on the subject of chancel repair liability and the powers of parochial church councils.
Andrew George (St Ives, Liberal Democrat): To ask the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what powers parochial church councils possess to convey (a) capital, (b) property and (c) other assets to a local community organisation or charity they are (i) seeking to assist and (ii) whose objections or plan they support.
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry): A Parochial Church Council is a statutory corporation established for the purpose, among other more specific functions, of “co-operating with the minster in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical”. The Parochial Church Council may properly convey money or property to another charity or community organisation if it considers that doing so would further this charitable purpose. A transfer of land would require the consent of the diocesan authority. No consent is required for a transfer of money or other property.
Continue reading “Church Commissioners – Chancel Repair Liability (Written Answers)”
On 15th January 2015, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in a short debate in the House of Lords, led by Lord Avebury, on what steps the Government are taking to abolish the liability of private householders and others for chancel repairs. The Bishop put on record that the Church is, in principle, in favour of changing the law. However, he cautioned that the loss of title may cause the local parish financial hardships, and that compensation for the financial loss that would occur must be taken into account. The full transcript of the debate is reproduced below.
Asked by Lord Avebury: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to abolish the liability of private householders and others for chancel repairs.
Lord Avebury (LD): My Lords, a consensus that reform of the law on chancel repairs is long overdue has emerged from discussions with the church, the Law Commission, the Law Society, the Country Landowners’ Association and the National Secular Society. Since the Chancel Repairs Bill will not make further progress until after the general election, a preliminary debate on the issues is useful now. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on chancel repair liability”