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Is It Finally The Beginning Of The End For Chancel Repair Laibility?

View profile for Paul Hajek
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When I posted Chancel Repair Liability: The Full Monty last year, it was the culmination of  a series of posts which started off as a challenge to myself to include King Henry VIII in a blog on conveyancing.

I did not expect that, in view of the intended abolition (in most cases) of Chancel Repair Liability by October 2013, it would have agitated so many people, which list includes local MPs ,Local and National Newspapers and the BBC.

But then again it was a shock to learn that the Parochial Parish Council (PCC) of St. Eadburgha's church in Broadway would seek to register Chancel Repair Liability against 30 or so poor unfortunate owners of property in its parish.

Surely not? This was after all 2012 not 1312. People could not still be held responsible for the upkeep of the Chancery of their medieval church?

But, this is what happened a couple of months ago, and with the power of the Google search I became the "go to " solicitor on Chancel Repair Liability.

I am grateful to those people in Broadway who have kept me in the picture with was going on.

Why did the PPC do it?

Its a shame that the PCC felt it needed to try and register the Chancel Repair Liability.

To be fair, it probably felt it had no option as in the Wallbanks' case (see the Chancel Repair: Full Monty blog), funding was not available as "other avenues" remained open and untested i.e. Chancel Repair Liability.

There was also the possibility as reported in the Telegraph that members of a PCC as trustees could be held personally liable for their omissions.

Breaking News

It gives me great pleasure to report that after an appeal to the Charity Commissioners, the St. Eadburgha's PCC has been given permission to withdraw its application.

As reported by BBC online on Tuesday following advice from the Charity Commissioners, the PCC withdrew its demands.

An Important Precedent?

Although the Charity Commissioners state that their advice was not intended to be a general precedent, it would be odd in my opinion, if the reasons for withdrawal could not be used by other PCCs.

After all, the reasons given were that it was causing distress to the recipients and may have a deleterious effect on the Church itself.

What's Next?

As I understand it the PCC need to reconvene to pass a resolution seeking withdrawal of the Land Registry application.
This will take a few weeks to accomplish, so it is not yet quite over and we can safely see the end of Chancel Repair Liability in sight.

And amen to that!

Image of St Eadburghas Church via www.imagesof worcester