As a sector specialist law firm, we are proud to offer market-leading legal expertise to our values-aligned faith clients, from dioceses and parochial church councils (PCC) to national Christian church bodies, individual Christian churches and Christian charities.
Our growing ecclesiastical team provides legal advice on all aspects of ecclesiastical law for Church of England bishops, clergy, diocesan boards, councils and committees of the diocese, church officers, churchwardens and PCCs as well as general enquiries from laity in relation to the law of marriage, baptism, burial and the ceremonies of the Church of England.
What is ecclesiastical law?
Described as canon law, church law or ecclesiastical law, the internal law of the Church of England runs alongside more general aspects of the law that all organisations face. Ecclesiastical law involves advising on legal matters emanating from or relating to the Church of England.
Ecclesiastical law – matters we can assist with
Our team offers advice on all aspects of ecclesiastical law, including:
- appointment of clergy,
- marriage law,
- church buildings and faculty jurisdiction,
- burial law,
- memorials and exhumations,
- parish reorganisation,
- church properties,
- clergy discipline,
- consistory court matters,
- cathedral appointments,
- diocesan synod,
- data protection; and
- providing training to clergy and parishes on ecclesiastical law matters.
In addition, we can advise on the wider legal landscape applicable to the church, including charity law, governance, safeguarding and employment law, from cost-effective responses to day-to-day legal issues to managing large complex projects.
Examples of our work
- We have in-depth practical experience of operating as the lead legal adviser to national Christian church bodies, individual churches and parishes all within a variety of custodian trustee structures and managing all property aspects associated with that.
- We think innovatively, creatively and collaboratively when advising dioceses and parishes on options to enable them to survive and thrive in the current climate, including innovative use of land, grassroots community-led initiatives, the use of social funding ethical lending and income creation, pairing and joint ventures, and social enterprise.
- We advise national church bodies and dioceses on policies and initiatives that we know will gain traction at a grassroots level, due to our experience at a community level. We use the driver of the church’s mission to ensure that this remains central.
Meet the ecclesiastical team
Our expert team is commercially-trained, highly motivated and values-aligned, many of whom are themselves part of the Christian church, which creates a natural empathy and synergy.
The team is led by Dominic Curran, partner and charity and faith work lead, and recognised specialist Lisa Moncur, diocesan registrar for both the Diocese of Chester and the Diocese of Blackburn and deputy registrar of the Diocese of Worcester.
Meet the wider team
Our wider charities team, ranked in the top five national law firms for such work, is able to offer reliable, cost-effective advice to churches. This is in addition to our firm’s work in the education sector – alongside the many community schools and multi-academy trusts we work for, our education team advises 12 Church of England dioceses on education matters.