Churches: Repairs and Maintenance

House of Lords written question – answered on 16th December 2014.

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Photo of Lord Avebury Lord Avebury Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many court cases have been brought by parochial church councils to recover chancel repair liability since the Aston Cantlow judgment by the House of Lords in 2003.

Photo of Lord Faulks Lord Faulks The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The decision of the House of Lords in the case of Parochial Church Council of the Parish of Aston Cantlow and Wilmcote with Billesley, Warwickshire v. Wallbank and another [2003] UKHL 37 confirmed that chancel repair liability was a valid and enforceable property right. Before 13 October 2013 the liability did not have to be entered on the land register to bind buyers of registered land. Now buyers can be certain whether a property may be subject to the liability before they buy, helping them to make informed decisions.

Information as to the number of cases parochial church councils have brought since June 2003 to recover chancel repair liability is not available and could only be obtained from court records at disproportionate expense. The Government is however aware that not all parochial church councils decided to register their entitlement to the benefit of the liability.

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