Introduction to the Church in Wales Legal Department
The Legal Department performs a general in-house Counsel role and is responsible for advice to the Bench of Bishops, the Governing Body, the Representative Body and all their respective Committees. The Department also responds as far as possible to requests for legal advice from elsewhere in the Church in Wales where this can be done without parochial or diocesan conflicts of interest.
The subject areas which form the majority of the Department’s work are:
- The charitable trust framework within which the Representative Body is required by law to operate. This includes negotiations with the Charity Commission on a wide range of matters and in particular has recently included negotiations lasting for over a year leading to the Representative Body becoming a registered charity following the change in the law which removed its “exempt charity” status
- Oversight of the many “Special Trusts” (i.e. Trusts for the benefit of a specific parish or group of people) of which the Representative Body is the Trustee
- Advice to the various bodies and other individuals mentioned above in relation to the Constitution of the Church in Wales
- The preparation of draft amendments to the Constitution when requested by the Bench, the Governing Body or the Representative Body for consideration by the Drafting Sub Committee of the Governing Body Standing Committee
- Oversight of panel solicitors handling purchases, sales and leases of churches, church halls, vicarages and investment property
- Dealing with contentious cases, whether relating to property, employment or other matters
- Administration of the Church in Wales Disciplinary Tribunal of which the Assistant Solicitor is the Registrar
- Advice on legal aspects of safeguarding issues
- Legal support to all departments
The Department has three members namely:
- Head of Legal Services and Registrar of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Church in Wales – Lynette Chandler
- Secretary/Administrator – Karen Pyke
All enquiries are welcomed. It is understood that whether or not a particular set of circumstances has a legal implication is not always easy to tell. It is often the case that to seek legal advice earlier rather than later in a situation can lead to that situation being able to be dealt with much more easily. Each member of the Department is happy to take an initial enquiry whatever the detailed subject matter. Arrangements can then be made for the appropriate person to deal with it.