03 March 2003
The appeal by the PCC of Aston Cantlow and Wilmcote with Billesley against the decision of the Court of Appeal in favour of Mr and Mrs Wallbank will be heard in the House of Lords today, Monday 3rd March 2003, and on the following two days.
The PCC's case against Mr and Mr Wallbank was on the basis that the Wallbanks were lay rectors of the parish by virtue of their ownership of a particular piece of land in the parish, and hence were liable for the cost of repairs to the chancel of the parish church. The Court of Appeal decided in the Wallbanks' favour on the ground that to enforce the liability would be contrary to the Human Rights Act 1998.
The case raises important issues for the Church of England as a whole, and the Archbishops' Council is therefore funding the appeal. Apart from the availability of a valuable source of funding for many individual parishes for repair to historic church buildings, it involves the wider question of the position of PCCs under the Human Rights Act.
The House of Lords' decision is not expected until some weeks after the end of the hearing.