Clergy Discipline

The Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 came into on 1 January 2006, and replaced the jurisdiction of the Consistory Court in cases of clerical misconduct. There have been a number of changes in relation to practice and procedure, particularly those effected by the Clergy Discipline (Amendment) Measure 2013. The following links are to the updated and revised versions of the material cited.

The primary legislation which prescribes the processes to be followed is the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 togeher with the Clergy Discipline Rules 2005. These are themselves supplemented by the Code of Practice 2006.

clergy-imageThe Clergy Discipline Commission has published various practice directions and guidance:

Guidance on Penalties
Addressing the Tribunal on Penalty
Amendments to Allegations
Attendance by Nominee of Bishop

All of this material, together with that relating to appeals can be found on the Church of England website together with the prescribed forms in downloadable format.

A helpful introduction is to be found in an article written for the Ecclesiastical Law Journal in 2007 by Adrian Iles, The Clergy Discipline Measure 2003: A Canter Through its Provisions and Procedures, which has been supplemented in 2014 by a commentary on the subsequent revisions in The Clergy Discipline Measure 2003: A Progress Report

Since 2007 there has been a steady stream of determinations by tribunals, together with a few appellate judgments. Whilst the proceedings are generally held in private the adjudications are public documents.

The case of King concerned an inappropriate relationship with a parishioner and was the subject of an appeal on the matter of penalty. Davies concerned multiple sexual encounters outside marriage and drunkeness, and Okechi adultery. In Tripp and Northern, an adulterous relationship was admitted and the tribunal merely dealt with penalty, similarly Rea and Meier In Rowland sexual misconduct was admitted, but the penalty hearing proceeded in the absence of the cleric concerned. Landall concerned safeguarding and, the tribunal being satisfied that rehabilitation to ministry was impossible, a penalty of prohibition for life was imposed.

Faulks related to parochial finances and a conditional discharge was imposed. In contrast, Wray involved theft and dishonesty and led to a prohibition for life. The case of Robinson led to a lengthy judgment dealing with a number of procedural issues and giving guidance on the interplay between safeguarding and clergy discipline. That of Gair took as a preliminary point whether objection may be taken to the inclusion on the tribunal of a woman priest.



Meier – penaltyOctober 2013
Landall – penaltyJune 2013
Wray – adjudication and penalty May 2011
Gilmore – Judgment on Appeal and OrderApril 2011
Gilmore – adjudication, penalty andremarks on penaltyDecember 2010
Rowland – adjudicationFebruary 2010
Tipp and Northern – penaltyDecember 2008
Okechi – adjudication and penaltyDecember 2008
Davies – adjudication and penaltyNovember 2008
Gair – adjudication and penalty - November 2008
Rea – penaltySeptember 2008
Robinson – adjudication and penaltyAugust 2008
Faulks – adjudication and penaltyDecember 2007
King – adjudication and appealNovember 2007 and April 2008