Friday, 11 October 2013

Concerns about the registering Chancel Repair Liability

With today's deadline a  very interesting article from the church times has come out by Gavin Drake found  here providing facts and figures about the number of churches registering saying about 89 churches are going to register. I would have guessed about 100 churches but with most of the liability being held by large land owners who probably will not go the press. I suspect at the end of the day it will be slightly more than 100 churches.

Two concerns


My first concern and I am aware of least one parish that is doing is that they are registering land that no longer bears the liability and since few people understand the law a lot of upset and grief may come to pass before the truth comes out.
My second concern is that parishes are not taking seriously the option of going the way of reputational damage. I can see they might do this because they do not have  the time to complete the research and before  today's deadline and they have registered as a holding measure. They maybe  unaware that the reputational damage route is an argument they could use to avoid registration followed up with the possibility of writing to the charity commissioners to get vindication of this PCC decision .

Rights and wrongs of registration


In the part of the One Show filming which got edited out I stated that the whole thing was a little bit bonkers and it is and huge regret to me that parliament ducked the sorting of chancel repair liability out fully. The mess that has been created by parliament's inaction has to be resolved by the local church and so each church council has to make it's own decision of what is reasonable to do. Many church  councils are ill equipped to deal with this issue and the support from dioceses has been a bit patchy. Sadly I know that some churches will register when really shouldn't and some fail to register when maybe they should have and some have refused to investigate and decided probably accidentally  to put all PCC members in legal jeopardy.

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