Michelmores has a long established practice of providing specialist advice to a broad range of ecclesiastical clients and religious organisations including property law and a range of other matters.
Clients include The Exeter Diocesan Board of Finance, The Truro Diocesan Board of Finance, the Church Commissioners, various Methodist Church Circuits and other faith based organisations and charities.
Martin Follett, head of the Ecclesiastical team, has acted as Diocesan Registrar for the Diocese of Truro since 1983 and Diocesan Registrar for the Diocese of Exeter since 2007. A partner of Michelmores has been the Diocesan Registrar of the Diocese of Exeter since 1918 and since then Michelmores has acted for the Exeter Diocesan Board of Finance Limited.
In addition to specialist ecclesiastical knowledge, members of the team have particular expertise and experience in advising charities. As well as ecclesiastical and other religious organisations, the team is able to support charities and other voluntary sector bodies which may be motivated by a religious ethos without forming part of a distinct religious entity.
The team has a wide experience in other relevant practice areas including property development, education and planning. Individuals in the team benefit from working alongside the Diocesan Registry team and are accustomed to working closely with the Charity Commission, the Church Commissioners and local education authorities. These invaluable links promote an excellent understanding of the unique range of issues particular to this legal area.
The team provides responsive, practical and specialist advice in regard to a broad range of types of ecclesiastical property including redundant churches and churchyards, burial grounds, glebe land, parsonages, parochial church council land, church halls, schools and corporate property. In respect of property matters members of the team have a wealth of experience in dealing with the following types of transaction:
- acquisitions and disposals on a freehold and leasehold basis
- redevelopment, both on a small scale (eg parsonage sites) and of large complex sites (eg redundant churches)
- landlord and tenant, including lease extensions, agricultural tenancies and other leasehold management matters
- adverse possession claims
- claims to acquire land by enfranchisement, eg places of worship
- property disputes
- in regard to church schools the law of reverter, relocation and redevelopment, change of status, transfer of control agreements, pre-school facilities
- rights of way and other easements
- variation of covenants