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Chancel Repair Liability

Volume 550: debated on Tuesday 18 September 2012

9. What assessment he has made of the need to review the law on chancel repair liability; and if he will make a statement. (121186)

Chancel repair liability is a long-standing interest in land under the law of England and Wales, and the Government have no plans to review the law relating to it.

I welcome my hon. Friend to her richly deserved appointment, but I am rather disappointed by her answer. As the October 2013 deadline for the registration of liabilities under this archaic law approaches, more and more parochial church councils will face the kind of acute dilemmas faced by my constituents in Broadway. I urge her to bear it in mind that this law does need fundamental reform, for the sake of fairness and justice.

I am aware that my hon. Friend has an ongoing interest in this area, and I thank him for drawing it to my attention. However, chancel repair liability is a valid property right, which has been upheld by the House of Lords. Properties have been sold subject to the liability, and insurance can be made available. The requirement for registration will help greatly in dealing with the problem of discoverability, but I will, of course, keep the matter under consideration and monitor developments carefully.