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Property Disputes

Volume 524: debated on Tuesday 1 March 2011

3. What procedure exists for resolving disputes between the Church Commissioners and third parties over the ownership of property. (42463)

There is no set procedure for resolving disputes of property ownership. Each dispute is treated individually, having regard for the particular circumstances of the case.

In one of the villages in my constituency, just outside Harlow, a community group is in dispute with the local parish church over the ownership of a hall and its land. Does my hon. Friend agree that an arbitration service would surely be preferable to a costly court case in such matters, as the community group concerned does not have the resources to fight a lengthy legal battle?

In such instances, I suggest that mediation is always preferable. I understand that the Archdeacon of Harlow offered to act as a mediator but was turned down. I am a qualified and trained mediator, so if I was acceptable to Roydon parochial church council and the Dobbs Weir residents association, I would be willing, pro bono, to act as mediator.