This blog will be my personal reflections on issues with regards to Chancel Repair Liability (CRL) and should not be intended as legal advice since that is the role of solicitors. I am inspired to write this as a result of reading inaccurate comments across the web, being fairly well read on this subject I believe I can pass comment without ridicule.
I will not fool myself into thinking I know everything about CRL, since I doubt that anyone does and I am always happy to be corrected. The best book on Chancel repair liability is James Derrimans book Chancel Repair Liability: How to Research It and I think if you want to understand it then this is the book to have.
OpinionPersonally I think the whole concept is slightly bonkers but we are where we are and sadly parliament which generally created the issue has failed over the past 80 years to resolve it and they seem to be determined not to resolve it considering that apparently only 4 people attended the last debate on the subject.
A Common Error
I will explain this in later blog posts but to make it clear of the 4,000,000 acres that are liable to CRL, for the upkeep of about 5200 churches, 70% or so are liable to fraction of a fraction of a chancel under Tithe Rent Charge Liability.
In one example, the owner of a field, in event of £200,000 damage to the chancel would be liable to £86. If the ownership of the field was split up then that £86 would be personal and several to all the part owners. It is likely that it would cost in excess of £50 to prove the liability and about £30 to collect the money from each partial owner. In other words the liability exists but it is most unlikely that any PCC would actually enforce it. I suspect this misunderstanding has been helpful though for the profit margins of insurance companies and for various anti-church organisations.
Liability Personal and SeveralThe remaining 30% of liability is personal and several but in many the maps to prove the liability are not good enough or there was no map made. I would expect that of the 30% remaining probably around 10% could be found. This would leave about 2000 places with allotments of land with provable personal and several liability and this remains an important issue for those parishes.
Parochial Church Councils (PCC's)
For PCC's Vicars and wardens the whole issue is very difficult and I have put together some helps on this webpage on the top right hand corner one link goes to PDF of PCC action sheet another is a short guide to Enclosure awards and Tithe maps. Both these are written by me and I do update them every so often and they are not perfect. If you see a mistake I'll be delighted to correct them but please note each enclosure award and Tithe Apportionment are unique and so it is hard to generalise.
My next post will be about Felixkirk.