The Church of England
is governed by legislation in two ways.
First, there are
general laws which affect all churches and other organizations.
This would include such things as tax law, building regulations
and so on.
Second, there is specific
legislation which relates to the Church of England. Because
the Church is the established Church this legislation is passed
by Parliament. However, in recent years a particular mechanism
has existed by which legislation is approved.
- Legislation is drafted
and agreed by the General Synod. The piece of legislation
is called a Measure. Strictly speaking the Synod is only
proposing legislation, it does not itself make it. Ordinarily
it takes 2-3 for legislation to pass through the synodical
process, but it can take much longer.
Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament (made up of members of both the Commons
and the Lords) examines the Measure and produces a report
indicating whether it thinks the Measure should be made.
- A draft of the report
is sent to the Legislative Committee
of the General Synod. If the Synod agrees then the
Measure can be laid before Parliament.
- If the Ecclesiastical
Committee objects to some point it is normally sent back
to the General Synod. However, the Synod could in theory
opt to bypass the Committee.
- Motions must be passed
by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords before
being presented for the Royal Assent. Parliament is not bound
to accept Measures.
- It is also possible, in principle, for Parliament to
legislation defining the Church of England and its legislative authority.
of Supremacy 1534 (November). (Reinstated by Act of Supremacy 1559) -
making the Church and Nation of England free of the power of
the Bishop of Rome.
Act of Uniformity 1559 - establishing a slightly modified version of the 1552 Prayer Book which later became the 1662 Book of Common Pryaer.
Coronation Oath Act 1688 - requiring the monarch to uphold the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law.
Act of Settlement 1701 - this act effectively ensured that the monarch should adopt
the Reformed Protestant faith, or not be eligible to rule. This
was significant in the development of democracy in that he people
of England were thus freed from the whims of the monarchy.
Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919 - known as the "Enabling Act".
The Church of England
(Worship and Doctrine) Measure 1974
Other important legislation
Marriage Act 1949
and Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure 1965
Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967
of Benefices) Measure 1977
Pastoral Measure 1983
of Women) Measure 1986
text of all measures from 1988 onwards can be found online.
Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993
Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1994 (This is not a Measure of Parliament, it is simply an Act passed by the General Synod.)
Clergy Discipline Measure
on this website.
Past Legislation now superseded or no longer in force
Statutes of Provisors (1351, 1353, 1365 & 1389)
Statutes of Praemunire (1353, 1365 & 1393)