Faculty jurisdiction

A faculty is a permission granted by the Consistory Court of the Diocese for work to be carried out to consecrated buildings and land, which will usually include the church and churchyard and fixtures, fittings and furnishings.

Important Note

Those applying for faculties should please note that with effect from 1 January 2016, new Faculty forms have been introduced by the Faculty Jurisdiction Rules 2015 (“FJR 2015”). New applications to the DAC for its advice (now to be given as a ‘Notification of Advice’, instead of the old ‘Certificate of Recommendation’) should now include the information set out in section 4.2 of FJR 2015, including ‘standard information’ in Form 1A. The other information which the DAC will need to see is listed in section 4.2 and is as follows:

… intending applicants must submit the following to the Diocesan Advisory Committee when seeking its advice—

(a)   the standard information in Form 1A (where advice is being sought pursuant to a resolution of the parochial church council) or Form 1B (where advice is being sought by the relevant person or body) (but see paragraph (2));

(b)   a summary of the works or other proposals on which advice is being sought;

(c)   any relevant designs;

(d)   any relevant plans;

(e)   any relevant photographs;

(f)   any other documents giving particulars of the works or other proposals;

(g)   any relevant correspondence received from the Church Buildings Council; and

(h)   in the case of works likely to affect the character of a listed building, or affect archaeological matters, or involving demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area, the application will need to be supported by information about consultations undertaken in accordance with Schedule 2 of the FJR 2015.

However, note that section 4.2(2) says that “If the intending applicants have previously submitted the standard information required by paragraph (1)(a) to the Diocesan Advisory Committee they need not do so again unless the information that was previously submitted has changed.”

The intention of the new FJR 2015 is to encourage applicants to provide full information to the DAC right at the start of the faculty process, including the responses to consultations with any relevant Amenity Societies and other interested parties.

Help with the new forms is of course available from the DAC and from the Diocesan Registry.


A Faculty is a permission granted by the Consistory Court of the Diocese for work to be carried out to consecrated buildings and land, which will usually include the church and churchyard and fixtures, fittings and furnishings. The jurisdiction is normally exercised by the Chancellor of the Diocese, or in the case of some specified matters, by the appropriate Archdeacon.

A faculty is required for any work affecting consecrated land or buildings, including:

  • Repairs to consecrated buildings and land, fixtures, fittings and furnishings
  • Alterations or additions
  • Sales or other disposals of consecrated land or chattels (including arrangements for loans and leases) (It is worth noting that if property is sold without a faculty having first been obtained, the buyer will not obtain a good title to the property sold.)

In most cases the faculty jurisdiction is exercised by the Chancellor of the Diocese. In determining an application for a faculty the Chancellor will have regard to advice from the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches, the DAC. The DAC reviews all faculty applications, and consists of a number of experienced advisors with wide ranging expertise on church buildings and furnishings. Members include the Archdeacons, several other clergy, architects and other specialists and a representative from English Heritage. The committee can call upon additional expert advice where necessary. The DAC meets regularly, usually monthly, to consider faculty applications. The functions of the DAC are set out formally in the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure 2018.

The Norwich DAC is administered by Caroline Rawlings, who may contacted at pnebyvar.enjyvatf@qvbprfrbsabejvpu.bet or by telephone on 01603 882350, and Caroline is supported by Margaret Mallett (znetnerg.znyyrgg@qvbprfrbsabejvpu.bet).

Their address for written correspondence with the DAC is:

Diocesan House
109 Dereham Road

The PCC’s Architect will usually be able to offer advice about works proposed to the church building, but general advice, and some useful articles on specific subjects, can be found on the Building Conservation website. This deals with the conservation of historic buildings generally, and not just churches, but has some helpful information on church-specific topics.

Another useful website with information specifically about church buildings and their care and maintenance is the ChurchCare site. this is maintained by the Church of England, through the Church’s Cathedrals and Church Buildings Division, which is led by the Bishop of London.