Court of Appeal: Butler-Sloss, Auld and Waller LJJ, June 1998
The applicant sought to renew an application for leave to judicially review a decision of Sir David Calcutt, Chancellor of the Diocese of Exeter, given on 1 July 1997(unreported). Carnwath J, at first instance, took the point that a previous decision of the Court of Appeal [presumably R v Chancellor of St Edmundsburv and Ipswich Diocese, exparte White  1KB 195,  2 All ER 170, CA] decided that certiorari will not lie in relation to a decision of the consistory court but he went on to consider the application on its merits. Waller LJ, giving the judgment of the court, agreed, stating, 'In my judgment, we should look at this matter on its merits and not consider questions of jurisdiction.' The chancellor had determined by way of written representations a confirmatory petition for works to a boundary wall of a churchyard. The applicant (1) objected to being described as the only objector (which strictly she was); (2) alleged collusion between the parish council, the churchwardens and the neighbour concerned; (3) considered it improper that the chancellor and counsel for the petitioners both came from the Temple; and (4) complained that the neighbour had behaved improperly in relation to the planning authorities and infringed her private property rights. The applicant's alternative solution, namely reinstatement of the churchyard, was regarded as both impracticable and undesirable. The court concluded that there was no chance that a Court of Appeal would review and reverse the chancellor's decision. The applicant could not show an arguable case that the chancellor went wrong in law or reached an unreasonable result.
Note: For a full discussion of the supervisory role of the Divisional Court in cases such as this, see M Hill 'Judicial Review of Ecclesiastical Courts' in N Doe, M Hill & R Ombres (eds) English Canon Law - Essays in Honour of Bishop Eric Kemp, (University of Wales Press, Cardiff 1998) at pp 104-114. See also R v Provincial Court of the Church in Wales, exparte Williams (below).
(1999) 5 Ecc LJ 212-213