Faculty Jurisdiction encourages churches to combine the best of their heritage with imaginative and faith-based solutions that serve their communities and preserves the spirituality, fabric and contents of their buildings for future generations.
Faculty Jurisdiction applies to all consecrated churches and churchyards, whether or not they are listed. It extends to un-consecrated land surrounding, or adjacent or ancillary, to a church, and to certain buildings which, though un-consecrated, are licensed by the bishop for public worship.
Faculty Jurisdiction is the Church’s equivalent of planning permission. Without this ecclesiastical exemption from the secular planning legislation many changes to church buildings that facilitate growth would simply not be possible. This is why the faculty process needs to be supported and followed by all churches so that all may continue to evolve and meet the needs of those they serve.
- It ensures that the long-term interests of parishioners, past, present and future are served.
- It avoids changes which may quickly fall out of fashion or are undertaken without due consideration to the long-term growth and benefit of the church.
- Any person carrying out works without a faculty may be liable to a civil action for trespass to land or goods and a criminal prosecution under the Criminal damage Act 1971.
- A PCC would equally be in breach of trust if it dissipated its funds on the cost of works not authorised by a faculty.
The role of the DAC is to help parishes successfully discern and meet the changing demands of liturgy and wider use of their buildings whist retaining and valuing aspects of its fabric which speak of a wider heritage and identity.
It can be expensive to work with professionals, but it can be far more costly to work with amateurs.
Faculty or List B?
Any alteration, repair, or extension to a church building, or any change to the contents of a church, whether by addition or removal of items, needs to be legally approved by the granting of a Faculty or written approval from the Archdeacon under the Schedule of List A or B Minor Works.
Lists A and B detail a catalogue of minor works that may be carried out without a faculty. They must cost less than £10,000 and have usually been cited in your Quinquennial Report. To see if this option is available to you refer to the List A and B webpage for more information and instructions.
A faculty is required if your proposal is not itemised under Lists A or B. Consulting the DAC at an early stage can help you develop your ideas, provide examples to visit, deal with potential snags and ensure as much as possible the smooth progression from concept to completion. A Request for Advice enables the DAC to visit you and your church and explore either your initial ideas or help in developing your project.
Faculty Forms and Online Applications
Faculties and List B applications may now be submitted using the Online Faculty System.
- To register applicants need to be on the diocesan database or provide a PCC resolution supporting nomination to this role on their behalf.
- Please ensure you select your church from the list provided on the registration page
- Advice on how to register can be found here
- Guidance on completing the online faculty form here
- A complete manual on the online faculty systgem for parishes is here
Obtaining a faculty is a two part process. The first part is to obtain a Notification of Advice from the DAC and the second is for the Chancellor to grant a faculty for the proposals. Work cannot proceed until a faculty is granted and provisos addressed. If an emergency arises, please consult the DAC Secretary as soon as possible to see if an Interim Order may be obtained.
Completing the faculty process can be daunting if you have not done so before or if you are working on a complex project. All faculty applications need to be self-explanatory and understood by someone who does not know you, your church, parish or circumstances. Your quinquennial inspector (QI) and the DAC can be contacted throughout the process for help with completing the forms.
- DAC meetings and closing dates for submission 2018
- Form 1A - Standard information about your church which changes only infrequently
- Form 3A - Faculty Petition (application setting out details of your proposal, consultations, funding, contractors, PCC approval, etc
Form 4A - Public Notice describing the work and a public place where the plans may be viewed
In addition to these 3 key forms, a range of other information will be needed so that it is understood exactly what is going to happen, how and why. This information may often include quotations, architect’s specifications, plans, photographs, and contractors' experience and details. Large projects will additionally require comments from amenity bodies such as Historic England, the Victorian Society and Church Buildings Council, a statement of significance and statement of needs and possibly secular planning permission if the proposal changes the external appearance of the church.
All applications require a PCC resolution specifically referring to the proposal and stating the votes in favour/abstain/against and details of the attendance on the day of the vote.
If following receipt of a faculty, there is a need to change any terms such as methods or materials, it is essential that a variation to the faculty is sought. Confirmatory or retrospective faculties cannot be guaranteed in which case, the PCC, architect, or other authorising person may be required to pay for remedial works. It is both very unwise and unlawful, as well as potentially very costly, to commence works until the Faculty has been sealed or to carry out works outside of, or to a different specification from, the Faculty until a variation has been granted by the Court. Read: Breach of Faculty Conditions.
If your proposal includes excavation within the church or churchyard, it is probable that a Watching Archaeological Brief will need to be carried out under the supervision of an archaeological contractor. A list of contractors can be found on the South Yorkshire Archaeology Service website
Checklist of forms and information to submit to the DAC
- Standard Information Form 1A
- Faculty Petition Form 3A
- Copy of the requisite completed Public Notice (4A) following display inside and outside the church
- DAC Notification of Advice
- PCC resolution confirming its agreement that the work (as detailed) should be carried out and that a faculty should be obtained
- PCC resolution addressing any provisos in the DAC Notification of Advice
- Response from insurers regarding cover during works
- Statement of Significance and Needs
- Details, specification documents and plans, photographs, drawings and other information not already supplied
- Any estimates of cost including quotes from contractors on headed email or letter
- Any correspondence with relevant amenity bodies Church Buildings Council (CBC), Historic England, Society for Protection of Ancient Monuments (SPAB), Georgian Society, Victorian Society, C20th Society, Ancient Monument Society, Council for British Archaeology and
- Any other documents the petitioners think it appropriate or necessary for the Chancellor to have before her.
This information is submitted to the DAC who will consider the application at the next available meeting.When determining their view on major projects DACs must refer to the Alkmund Questions which state that the greater the level of intervention in a building, the greater is the need for benefit to be demonstrated. They will issue a Notification of Advice which is sent to the parish and the Chancellor so that the views of relevant experts are known. You will be contacted with one of the following outcomes:
- Informal contact suggesting further work/visit and advice from the DAC and/or amenity bodies/amendments or modifications to progress the application - common with major projects
- A Notification of Advice approving your application
- A Notification of Advice approving your application with proviso(s) that need to be addressed
- A Notification of Advice with no objection –used to indicate that the DAC has a concern about the proposal. The cause for concern is set out in theNotification so that the Chancellor can take the view of the DAC into account.
- A Notification of Advice rejecting the proposal – you are still able to proceed with your application for a faculty but the Chancellor will take into consideration the view of the DAC
Dealing with opposition
In the case of most faculty petitions there is no party opponent and a faculty can be granted by the Chancellor on consideration of the petition under rule 9.6(1) of the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules (FJR) of 2013. Where the Chancellor is minded not to grant the unopposed faculty, or where there is a party opponent, the matter is in most cases dealt with, not by holding a hearing, but under the written representations procedure contained in Part 13 of the FJR 2013. The procedure was introduced by the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 1992 “to provide an alternative procedure in a suitable case where the issues are clear-cut”: Bentley para 34.
Other Faculty Forms & Checklists
Save or Delete? A guide explaining what documents and records have to be kept by law and for how long.
If work needs to be carried out urgently on the basis that there is a risk to health or safety, or the work is not covered by Lists A & B, please contact the DAC Office with as much information as possible. If appropriate, an Interim Order will be sought on your behalf from the Chancellor to allow the work to proceed with confirmatory paperwork to follow.
A temporary re-ordering licence may be granted by the Archdeacon to enable a church to experiment with minor changes for a period of up to fifteen months. To comply with a temporary re-order, it must be possible to return the church to exactly the same state as it was before the re-ordering with any removed items returned in good condition. If the church decides to keep the reordered scheme a faculty application should be submitted no later than three months before the end of the licence expiry date.
The Sharing of Church Buildings Act 1969 (SOCBA) makes special provision for the sharing of consecrated churches of the Church of England (Section 5). These remain subject to the Church of England Faculty Jurisdiction and to its system of quinquennial surveys. This applies to the church’s fabric and to movable contents belonging to the Church of England but not to movable contents belonging to a guest church. The Church in Wales has similar rules.
If the Sharing Agreement relates to the whole property, including car park, gardens etc., it should state clearly who is responsible for maintaining grounds outside the buildings. Remember a Sharing Agreement cannot include a graveyard.
The short blog from Law and Religion on the Risks of disregarding the faculty jurisdiction is well worth five minutes of your time as it explains the value to churches of ecclesiastical exemptions and why it needs to be fully embraced.