WTF is Chancel Repair Liability?

Tony Blair

Blame Tony Blair’s Labour government – yes him again. Honestly – he’s like Dr Evil from Austin Powers. Picture via Wikimedia Commons (see link below for licensing information).

The Witchfinder delves into medieval land law and its modern application by the UK Parliament. Specifically, the last Labour government.

Your Inquisitor has been studying land law this year for his GDL. One of the Witchfinder’s acquaintances asked about the law of Chancel Repairs and, as it involved topics relevant to the Witchfinder’s revision, he looked into it.

According to horror stories promoted by the National Secular Society, Chancel Repair Liability is an ancient law that binds some unfortunate purchasers of land to have to pay for repairs to their local parish church even if they did not know about the liability when they bought the property and even if it is not recorded in the deeds for the land nor any Land Register (or Land Charges Register) entry.

Of course, campaigning groups often exaggerate stories for maximum effect and so the author initially treated the claims with a pinch of salt. Unfortunately, upon investigation, the stories actually turned out to be true.

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Perfectin’ Justice

A Scary Legal Hammer

McKenzie Friends are essential to the Court System. So what are they allowed to do, and when will the legal hammer come down?

The Witchfinder explains the law on McKenzie Friends.

Your author is a law student who regularly practices, charitably, as a McKenzie Friend and so I was interested to read Natasha Philips’ recent article on McKenzie Friends. Natasha is right about the essential support provided to our cash strapped legal system (especially the Family Courts) by McKenzie Friends but this particular law student wanted to clarify a few points as to what McKenzie Friends may lawfully do.

Your Inquisitor has encountered several barristers who are unclear on what the law actually regulates, including more than one who wrongly complained I was giving legal advice, when the guidance explicitly says that McKenzie Friends may do so and even charge for it.

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