Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved

The Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved is an appellate court within the hierarchy of ecclesiastical courts of the Church of England. Hearing cases involving church doctrine, ceremony, or ritual, the Court has jurisdiction over both the Province of Canterbury and the Province of York. As of 2009 the Court has met just twice since it was established.


The Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved was created in 1963 with appellate jurisdiction in matters of doctrine, ritual or ceremonial.

Complaints against priests or deacons may be vetoed by their bishop and those against a bishop by the appropriate archbishop. Before a case is heard, a preliminary enquiry by a committee decides whether there is a case to answer. In the case of a priest or deacon, the Committee of Inquiry consists of the diocesan bishop, two members of the Lower House of Convocation of the province, and two diocesan chancellors. There are other provisions where the accused is a bishop.

If the committee allows the case to proceed, the Upper House of Convocation appoints a complainant against the accused in the Court for Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved, where the procedure resembles that of an assize court exercising jurisdiction but without a jury. However, the court sits with five advisers chosen from panels of theologians or liturgiologists.

As of 2009, the court has met only twice:

The first case dealt with the introduction of an icon and candlestick into a church without a faculty (exemption from the usual practice) being granted beforehand. The second case allowed the use of a marble sculpture by Henry Moore as an altar table.[3]


The Court's five judges are appointed by the Sovereign. Two must be judges (or have held high judicial office), and must also be communicant members of the Church of England; the remaining three must be (or have been) diocesan bishops.

In criminal cases there must be not less than three nor more than five advisers, who are selected by the Dean of the Arches and Auditor from a panel of eminent theologians and liturgiologists.

Current members

The following were appointed as judges by royal warrant for a five-year term beginning on 1 July 2006:[4]

Former members

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.


  1. [1985] 1 All ER 993
  2. [1987] 2 All ER 578
  3. "Henry Moore - Works in Public - Circular Altar 1972 (LH 630)".
  4. The London Gazette: no. 58062. p. 10685. 4 August 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 50581. p. 8568. 27 June 1986. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 The London Gazette: no. 52828. p. 2231. 10 February 1992. Retrieved 2011-08-22.

External links

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